Sunday, March 23, 2014

Johnny Letter #23

Dear Johnny,

I just tucked you in.  This is quite possibly my favorite part of my day, on the days it is my turn to do it. Lucky Daddy, he gets a turn every other night.

I have many shortcomings as a parent.  I don't make enough time to play superheros with you.  Sometimes I'm too tired to play a game or run around the yard, instead opting for cartoons for you and Kindle time for me.  I work a lot, get cranky, and often forget to wash your school bedding on time.

But one thing I am great at is bedtime.  And the reason I am great at it is because of you.  For as long as I can remember, after our nightly story, you have asked me to "Talk about what we'll do in the morning."  So we do the usual rundown of "breakfast, get dressed, school, yada yada..."  It is the same virtually every day.  Our days are so regular, it would be painful if it weren't so simply sweet.  There is no reason you need to hear what we'll "do in the morning" because you know the routine better than you know the dialogue in Toy Story 2, which is to say, very, very well.  VERY well.  Still, you ask every night, and I repeat the litany of the things, and then you throw an arm around my neck and look me in the eyes and say "I love you, Mama."

And I say, "I love you Johnny.  To bits and bits and bits.  I love you and I always keep you safe."  And you say "I know." And you roll over and turn out your lamp after asking me about 100 times if I will stay and "sleep with you for a long time" which is your new obsession.  You want us to spend the night in your room.  I blame myself - I've done it a time or two, mostly by accident.

The routine rarely varies except that sometimes you ask for a song, and I say "what song" and you always always say "Mockingbird," which is the song my mama always sang to me.  

Yesterday, we read The Giving Tree at naptime and I had to hide the fact that I was choking back tears.  So tonight when we were picking a book you said you didn't want The Giving Tree I said I was happy, because sometimes that book makes me sad.  You wanted to know why, so I explained that it reminds me that you are going to grow up one day and you might not need me anymore.  This seemed to truly shock you, the notion that you might not need me, and you looked me square in the eye and said "But I will still stay here with you."

Which is simultaneously terrifying and gratifying.  For now, I'll take it.  Eventually it is my job to send you packing, but for now, I'll take the idea that I will get to tuck you in into perpetuity, and that I'll get to redeem my lackluster parenting skills every other night when we crawl in your bed with blankets and books and hugs and whispers of plans for tomorrow.

Thank you for being the sweetest boy ever.

All my love,



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