05 November 2014

this is a picture I did not take

I read with ezra each night at bedtime. as in, he reads his book, I read mine. gone are the days of reading out loud. have I told you? one of my greatest joys in life has been the reading of roald dahl books out loud to my children. a few months ago, I begged ezra to let me read danny the champion of the world out loud to him one last time. reluctantly, he agreed. and then, I should add, barely tolerated the nightly reading. so, that was that. the last time, the very very last time and now our reading together looks completely different but that's okay. I'll take what I can get.

after our twenty minutes or so of silent reading (which I have actually grown to love very much), he tossed his book in the general direction of the nightstand and turned to sleep on his left side, just like he always does. and then I turned out the light, said the prayers and sang the two favorite songs, just like I always do. and then, usually, I am quick to get up and out of there. because, you know. netflix. big green couch. adult quiet time. I am ashamed at how quick I am to sing those two songs and slip out of the room. I am ashamed but I am still quick.

but tonight, as I felt myself rushing through the prayer, the two favorite songs, I felt that wistful thing, that bittersweet thing, that thing that sometimes overtakes me and I lay there for a little while and I willed myself to memorize every detail. the deep green glow of the alien nightlight, arm slung over a dingy sock monkey, slight curve of a still-small shoulder, the hum and hiss of the humidifier, the sound of his breathing. sandy hair in perfect waves, pencil-drawn waves.

as if I can hold on to any of this, as if any of us can hold on to any of what happens to us. and I wondered how many times my own mother tried to memorize details like these, if she was able to hold onto any of them, if she felt the way I did tonight. I would give anything to know. but I won't know, I can't know. and it's not okay, it will never be okay but the wondering is all I have. the imagining is all that's left and I'll take what I can get.


  1. Andrea, you touch my heart. My guy is 2 years old and I can't tell you how frustrating bedtime can be, yet most every night when I go back to check on him a can't help but tuck the blankets in again and give his little back a rub even though he might wake up. I recently realized he hasn't fallen asleep in my arms in a long time and that broke my heart a little. Big SIGH.

  2. I can hear the bitter sweetness in your voice and it makes me pause and sigh. My 9 year old will soon (all too soon) be taller than I and it makes me both proud and a little sad.
    When he is sleeping and all the 9 year old troubles have been put away for the day, he still looks so young and so very sweet. I can't resist one more tuck in and one more glance over my shoulder before going off to bed. I know he won't tolerate it forever, but that few seconds are so precious to me - when I can still remember how small he was tucked into the crook of my arm.
    Thank you for the lovely post.

  3. Oh, they are growing up far too quickly. My darling dear will turn 13 on Sunday. Goodness.

  4. wonderful, sweet image you painted friend.
    I know that quickness - I'm sometimes so guilty of a rushed tuck-in (when is it adult time?!!!) but then I always come back to watch them breathing, kiss them in the usual spots - the little curve of the nose, behind the ears, and whisper "Mama loves you"