To sleep, perchance to dream…

June 17, 2009 at 3:35 am (Uncategorized)

As all parents of young children know, there are myriad, perhaps infinite, bedtime-delaying tactics. “I need a drink of water,”  followed shortly by “I have to pee,” which in turn precedes, “The flush is too loud – will you do it?”

These pre-sleep rituals are not always plumbing related of course.  “I’m worried about a tornado.” (See previous post.) “I’m lonely.” “I’m not YAWN tired.”  “One more book/kiss/hug/cuddle.”  “The door isn’t open wide enough – is it touching the wall?  It should be touching the wall.”

Many of these requests can be dealt with quite quickly, but currently, Henry’s complaint, regular as Old Faithful, is “I don’t want to die.”  Uttered very solemnly, with his preternaturally large brown eyes welling up with tears, this one doesn’t get brushed aside.  My husband tried very manfully to shoulder the blame for Henry’s sudden realization of his own mortality…he and Henry were reading the comic book encyclopedia and evidently The Flash dies?  But much as I’d LIKE to blame my husband, I can’t.  I’m pretty sure this is developmental.  I can VIVIDLY remember being in our house in Topeka, which makes me six-ish, I suppose, in our bathtub, which had these blue-y purple velvet drapes with gold chains to tie them back.  (I thought that they were just the be-all, end-all of glamour…so glamorous I have to add the “u”).  Anyway.  I would pull the curtains closed and lie there in the dark, thinking about the fact that someday I would be dead.  The world in fact would go on without me in it.

It was terrifying.

So no, I don’t take Henry’s fears about death lightly.  But what can you say?  Everything that lives, dies, true, but it’s not much comfort to a kindergartner.  So we talk about how he won’t die until he’s very, very old, maybe 116 (please, Jesus, pretty please).  How heaven is supposed to be even nicer than Earth.  How we’ll meet God there.  Henry thinks that’s pretty cool.  He wants to ask God how He did it, how He made the Earth and the sun and the stars and the universe.

So we talk about it for a while until he gets calmed down and then Henry trots back up the stairs to bed, the fleshy balls of his feet, seemingly the only part of his body that has any babyfat anymore, making a deeply satisfying “thwack, thwack, thwack” up the wooden stairs.

And I think to myself, I don’t really need to know how God made us, and I even think in moments like this that I might have an inkling of “why.”  And I say, “thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.”


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