Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When the Lights Go Down

Little girl in flowing peach night gown stomps down the hall, sticks her head in the monkey bathroom to yell, "Nite Nite!!" at her daddy. She moves quickly, with purpose, climbs into bed with one of her favorite books and plops it in the middle of her pillow. She doesn't want to read it, just sleep with it--and the rest of her stuffed menagerie all huddled beneath the blanket.

"Noise," she says, reminding me to turn on the white noise maker. I half expect her to say "light," too, as I might need that reminder, too.

Little boy is different, padding to bed, then quietly waiting for me to lift him up. No other stuffed critters needed--just his bedraggled-looking lovey, which he instantly grabs and shoves it into his mouth before curling into a ball, not waiting to see if I'll turn on his white noisemaker or turn off the light. He knows the routine simply "is," with or without his input.

And the oldest boy fights bedtime with every wily maneuver he can muster--giggling, bouncing, questioning, playing--all in an attempt to stretch the minutes from bath time to the last book to running downstairs to kiss mommy goodnight to prayer time.

Unlike the other two, he has learned that there's life after dark...and the good life, too.

When those three warm, clean-smelling bodies snuggle under blankets behind closed doors, the house changes.

The unbalanced fan's click, click, click returns. (Was it really gone all day?) Shoes no longer magically appear on the floor to trip me, and whatever I pick up stays organized more than just a few minutes.

With three gone, two magically rematerialize. Mia and Kira unfold four furry legs from their hiding places and come to purr or wave their tails in my face as I complete schoolwork on my computer, contemplate the day's Bible study, or delve into another crochet project.

Sweet smells sometimes even waft from the late-night oven. Spoons clink in bowls of ice cream. The television remembers it can tun into other stations besides PBS.

But the best change isn't in the house, but in its occupants.

It's the muted conversation over a wifey foot rub in exchange for a hubby toenail clipping. The unrestrained husband and wife laughter at private jokes, not to be (for once) interrupted by screaming, crying, or a demand that a diaper is "It wet!" The two becoming one again in mind, body, and spirit.

It's the time spent together because we know that the best way to take care of those three sleeping children is to water, fertilize, prune, and hold tight to a marriage that God has created.

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