On Sunday, after another busy weekend, the kid was emotional, exhausted and driving her daddy crazy. After she started crying at the dinner table I took her aside and finally carried her upstairs. She got ready for bed the way she always does, and I decided to get a notepad and some coloured pencils.
Together we drew pictures and designs and talked. She just talked.
And as I sat there, putting polka dots on my turtle, I thought ‘this is what bedtime is supposed to be.’
It was quiet, she shared with me, we laughed. It was lovely.
Later that night she was crying, she had hurt herself, she was testing patience, but something else was wrong. I went back in to her darkened bedroom. She told me again she had hurt her head.
And then she lay face down on her blanket and cried out that she was scared people were going to laugh at her at her camp the next day. She was scared about this new big thing. So I lay there and asked a few questions and it became immediately clear that there were things she had not told me when we were talking earlier. That there were things she had been thinking about and trying not to share. She was scared, and that didn’t come out until later in the night.
I had had a break, I had been on the treadmill, lost in my show, and I was back and ready to listen again, to lie with her and talk, to hear her.
Truth be told, some of my favourite times have come when it’s late and she lies with me and tells me everything that’s on her mind. I remember doing the same with my mother. When I had something that needed to get out, I would just spew forth.
It’s a tradition I’ve very glad to continue.