Last night, Jack couldn’t sleep, for several reasons. One, he knew Whit was “almost home.” Those of you with spouses who get home too late to help with dinner, bath, stories, drinks of water, activating dreamcatchers, last-minute trips to the bathroom, back rubs, soul-baring conversations with a little girl, etc. but just early enough to get the kids out of their beds and totally riled up because “DADDY’S HOME!!!” will completely know what I’m talking about.
Two, there really was a wicked thunderstorm that hit right as he was going to sleep. He kept coming downstairs and saying there was a “huge gasp of wind right by my window,” and I knew exactly what he meant.
So I got in bed with him, and he laid his head on my chest and wrapped his little arms around me. And this is what he wanted:
“Say the poem.”
“The poem you said when I was a baby so I would go to sleep.”
So I launched into a recitation of Wynken, Blynken and Nod, which is so ingrained in my children as a goodnight poem that Caroline nearly fell asleep like a narcoleptic reciting it in her fourth grade class as an example of personification.
“What if our house gets hit by lightning?”
Launched into an explanation of electricity, conductors of electricity, and why you never swim during a thunderstorm. (No, Whit, I had no clue what I was talking about, but I followed my mother’s advice and sounded authoritative so he bought it.)
“How can you tell if it’s going to get worse?”
Launched into the age-old technique of counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder.
“What, exactly, is NASCAR?”
Launched into whatever I could remember from watching Talladega Nights.
“Do you think I’ll score a goal in my soccer game this weekend?”
Launched into a convincing argument about why staying wide will help him score.
“Mommy, I love you.”
“Jack, I love you, too. With all my heart.”
“Then I can go to sleep now. I’m not scared anymore.”
And I kissed him, and tucked him in, and left his room.