Bedtime is my favorite time of day with my family. I don’t say that only because I’m eager for my kids to be sweetly sleeping instead of swinging from the proverbial rafters (though sleep, of course, is the desired outcome).
By the end of the day, I crave a ritual of rest. In the precious moments before my kids fall asleep, the running list of tasks and responsibilities and deadlines going through my head gets eclipsed by the simpler concerns of choosing a book, or pulling pajamas over tiny arms and legs. When teeth are cleaned and negotiations about hair brushing are complete, when a stack of stories is finally decided on, we pile into bed together and we surrender.
It’s ingrained, no doubt, from scenes from my own childhood. Close my eyes and I can conjure the exact feeling of laying with my head on my dad’s chest, the reverberations echoing behind his sternum as he read us stories, the scratch of his beard as I tucked myself in tighter under his chin. Today when I read a passage from a book, I don’t hear my own voice, but my mom’s. My intakes of breath an involuntary replica of the sounds I listened to as a child in the moments before I went to sleep.
Anyone will tell you that parenting is not always simple. In a given day there might be a million complications–competing desires and distractions and hurdles to leap over. There are demands to satisfy or distract from and vagaries of mood and energy to navigate. Bedtime doesn’t make any of that go away, but it does take the chaotic moments of day and distill them into the essential ones. And you realize: this is it, childhood memories a tangle of limbs and heartbeats and stories at bedtime.
This post was sponsored by Hanna Andersson. We’re wearing their Classic Striped Pajamas in Heather Gray in these shots. If you’re interested, new customers can get 20% off right this way. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Reading My Tea Leaves.
Photos by Whitney Kidder.