February 22, 2007

Pepper's Ghost

I was curled up in my son's toddler bed last night finishing up our nightime routine of 4 books and a song about the moon when a streetsweeper two stories below drove slowly past the house . The flashing lights refracting through the window panes lit up the dark room painting the walls with bright orange and white squares. After the vehicle turned the corner and the room fell dark again I heard my son's quiet voice, "Wow." he said. Then after a long pause, "more?" and then, "more!" Before I could say, I couldn't make more, as if on cue, another streetsweeper began it's slow journey down the block. This time my son held up his hands to catch the light making huge shadows on the ceiling. After this too passed my son, content, bumped his head against mine and closed his eyes. Or so I thought. After a few minutes I turned to see if he had dozed off and was greeted by wide open eyes. He was watching me, studying me. "No daddy" he said seeing me notice him. Then he put a hand over my eyes. "Sleep Daddy," he said. I played along closing my eyes waiting for him to fade and for the hand to drop but while I was waiting I was the one who drifted off.

We parents complain about the lack of sleep, the length nighttime routine, and the hoops through which we have to jump to induce sleep... time gallops by so fast it's often hard to slow down and say, I want to hold on to this particular day and not let it get lost in the slippery blur of life... I woke up an hour or two later, my son finally asleep, his nose pressed up against my ear and slowly began to make my escape. As I was sitting on the edge of the bed clearing my fuzzy head I had one of those moments where time folded and I was suddenly a kid again on a similar small bed somewhere in Houston Texas a lifetime ago. In the middle of the night a firetruck's siren broke my sleep. I opened my eyes to a room painted in red flashing light. I'm pretty sure I said, "wow." Looking down at my son I wondered if this evening would lodge somewhere deep in his memory. Probably not—those early memory banks are most often reserved for bee stings, and tumbles, and getting lost in department stores. Maybe he'll remember, but probably not, and if not, I hope I have the wherewithal to remind him someday.

posted at 01:23 AM by raul

Filed under: daily life

TAGS: ceiling (2) fatherhood (8) kids (18) light (3) memory (15) night (20) night lights (1)

Comments:

02/23/07 04:34 AM

told very nice. wow.

02/23/07 07:36 AM

My three year old son and I have a 2 book, 2 song deal which is part of a nighttime routine that sometimes feels like an eternity. However, just last night I reminded myself that one day he won't want any of this routine anymore and, man, will I miss it when it's gone.

Thanks for the extra perspective.

02/23/07 09:03 AM

my mom says she hated my nighttime routine. she says i took forever and a day to sleep and i would always end up in their bed. but i remember one day when I was about seven going into the kitchen and finding her crying. i asked what was wrong and she said: 'your'e so grown up, you don't even need me to sleep anymore.' my mom was a difficult character but i remember that morning knowing that she loved me.

02/23/07 12:21 PM

Thanks for the reminder to treasure small, temporary routines. My 12 year old dog is slowing down, and the walks around the block sometimes take forever. They're our special time, however, and I need to put aside bad energy from the day and just cherish him and us. Not the same as you and your son's bedtime routine, but similar nonetheless.

02/23/07 04:19 PM

I was curious about the title of this post and found Pepper's Ghost described in this wikipedia entry. I assume this is what you were referring to... right?

02/23/07 08:24 PM

Thanks for a great story! This one made my day.

02/24/07 12:46 PM

Wonderful.

10/03/07 08:53 PM

that was beautiful

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