Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the still of the night

I've always heard the running joke among parents that they love their children the most when they're asleep. I get it. They're not moving, talking, destroying or doing anything else that causes the parent to be on their toes. It's funny. I can appreciate that. I do think the parent isn't serious when they say it though; there's really nothing quite as amazing as watching your children play and learn or hearing them talk and laugh. These moments are much more incredible than after they've gone to bed and you can sit on the couch debating between watching the Vampire Diaries or Family Guy. But there is one moment after they've gone down that may be the most amazing. The "tucking them in" experience. It might be one of my favorite, and certainly the best part of them going to bed. This is when you creep in to their room to make sure everyone is covered and in a good position before you head to bed yourself. It's the only time that they are truly still and you can really just look at them. Look is different then watch. Watching involves darting your eyes back and forth, trying to keep up with the one on the left hand side of the room while simultaneously trying to keep an eye on the one on the right. You end up either cross eyed or "frog eyed" as a result. But at tuck in time they are still, they are quiet, only their gentle breathing causes the hushed whooshing sound and their little chest to rise and fall ever so softly. They're faces are expressionless, but perfect, like the cherubs painted in the cathedrals and palaces of Italy, France and England. Their bodies are relaxed in what ever contortionist pose they've settled in to for the night. It's like a perfect painting that you can stare at for hours. ... only you can't, because every now and then a floor board creaks or a cat meows, or the damn dog starts creeping toward the open bedroom door and her nails "tic, tic, tic" on the hardwood causing the picture to stir and Gina and I to dive for cover for fear of a peeping eye catching a glimpse of us and rousing completely. As we cower on the floor, staring at each other, daring the other to laugh, the stillness returns and we take it as our sign to leave. We slip out the door and turn down the light and head to our own bed with a warm fuzzy feeling that only a parent can know. That really is one of my favorite times. It has nothing to do with the joy of my child still and quite, just the joy of being able to watch them, to absorb them, to bask in the glory of the gift that they are with out worrying about things to trip on, things to knock over, or who has put what in their mouth.

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