There’s nothing like the sound of a mom reading to her children, when they’re your children too. It’s the exact opposite of their nightmares, the universal antidote to whatever imagined horrors the darkness may conceal. It works on me too, easing me away from today’s and tomorrow’s cares. And everything sounds better in Ann’s British accent.
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. Read by Mum, for Jake and Amber.
“Once upon a time, there were four little Rabbits, and their names were…”
Jake and Amber are still young enough to enjoy snuggling in our bed for their bedtime stories, and they’re small enough to fit there between Ann and me. I’m in my pajamas because my bedtime is early too; I have to be on station by 5:00 a.m., almost an hour away. On work nights I hardly ever hear the end of the first story. I love falling asleep to Ann’s voice.
When it’s not a work night, I’m there for stories anyway. I love staying awake to her voice.
Sometimes in the middle of the night, half-awake for a fleeting moment, I’ll put my arm around the warm body beside me, and she’ll snuggle against me in her sleep and purr. At 3:45 a.m., when it’s time for me to get up, I try not to wake her, but she drowsily welcomes and sometimes returns a hug and kiss before falling back into sleep for a couple more hours.
I shower, dress, and pause for a moment in each child’s doorway, gazing happily on small, quietly slumbering forms in the pale white glow of the moon. Then it’s off to work.
That’s how things are for me at home, how they’re supposed to be. I’m not content with everything in my life, and I don’t always love a routine, but I love this one.
That is, I loved it until the storm came.