Henry is on the top bunk. Anna is on the bottom. Truth be told, Anna hasn't slept in her own room since we bought Henry's bunk beds nearly 2 years ago. And really, I don't mind a bit. It's good to have them in close proximity. These days at bedtime, the kids crawl under their blankets to snuggle in, and I sit on the edge of Anna's bunk, until they are both fast asleep.
I know, I know....bad habit. I should give my last kiss, turn off the lights, and walk out the door. And, I certainly admit, given our bedtime routine, there are times when I am trying to will the kids into instant sleep (using my telepathic mommy-brain powers) so I can go downstairs and finish dishes or pack lunches or pay the phone bill. (The telepathic thing hasn't worked so far, but I'll keep you posted.....)
But mostly, these few minutes at bedtime, as the kids fade off to sleep - - well, they are often the sweetest part of my entire day. In soft voices, we recount the day that is ending, and talk about what may come tomorrow. I hear their sleepy yawns and the usual "just one more thing, mom" after I've said "good-night and no more talking" for the 4th time. And lately, I get another request:
"Mom, tell us good things to dream about."
It started a few months ago. Henry was waking up in the middle of the night with bad dreams. I guess they were just your run-of-the-mill 7 year old nightmares, but they shook him - and they shook me too. And as a result, when Henry was falling asleep at bedtime, he worried that the bad dreams would come again. So, to ward off the nightmares - or at least the worry about them - we started something new. I began listing all of the good things Henry and Anna could think about as they drifted off to sleep. All the things that they could build their dreams on for the night ahead.....
Sleeping outside and counting the stars.
Picking all the good things growing in our garden: pumpkins, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers.
Cotton candy. (enough said).
Feeling the the crazy wind blowing our hair as we ride in the car with all the windows rolled down.
Raking up the leaves and jumping through them, over and over.
Having a sleep-over with friends - - for two nights in a row.
Tree-houses and forts and snow igloos.
Dancing and singing all day long.
Eating big stacks of pancakes, with butter and syrup dripping off the sides.
Stomping around in huge puddles left by a rain storm.
Riding bikes to get the mail and then taking the really long way home.
Finding the first snowflakes of the season floating through the air.
Dreaming about the snowballs and sledding soon to come.
Picking flowers and drawing pictures.
Riding the ferris wheel and stopping at the tippy-top, to see as far away as we can. Maybe we'd see all the way to Africa.
Cuddling up on the couch and reading a good book out loud on a cool rainy day.
Eating homemade caramel popcorn and hot chocolate while we read.
Going to the library and the park. On the same day.
Writing a long, long letter to Aunt Annie and telling her about everything.
On and on the list goes. And usually, by the time I finish, I hear big, heavy, sleepy breaths from both Henry and Anna.
"Good night my dear ones...."
Now, the kids request a "dream list" almost every night. And I'm happy to oblige.
Funny thing is, when I look at the dream list above - just random things, typical of what I usually say - well it really is just a sweet reflection of our days with one another. This list reminded me of a quote I recently read and scribbled down so I'd remember:
The happiest people don't have the best of everything....they just make the best of everything.
In some ways, I guess that is what we're doing - - making the best of what is right in front of us....even as we dream the night away.