Last night was parent night, or so I thought. I arranged for Nana Sandi to stay with Nora. I was excited Ben and I were getting to go somewhere together, even if it was just Nora’s school. We’d chat with other parents and Nora’s beautiful teacher. Ben would use decorative beeswax to decorate a candle that would be used for Nora’s birthday celebration next spring.
Perhaps best of all, I would skip putting-Nora-to-bed duties.
When we got to the school, we had a ridiculously easy time finding a parking spot. We walked in and checked the event board. I got the night wrong.
Instant date night! We headed to our favorite swank grocery store and bought anything we wanted. Then drove to Sellwood Park, on the banks of the Willamette river. We kissed at the end of the floating dock and laid back, feeling the dock undulate in the wake of the Portland Spirit. We watched a group of kayakers alight on the shore in the dusk.
We climbed back in the car and drove around, finally parking in a neighborhood, talking about how we got where we are and where we want to be. Together.
When it was late enough that Nora would surely be asleep, we drove home.
We walked into the house and Nora called for Ben.
Then she called for me.
I went to her and walked her through falling asleep: “Get comfortable, close your eyes. Take a deep breath and when you breath out, feel yourself sink into the bed. Now, everytime your body wants to wiggle, or your brain wants to talk, just say to yourself, ‘No, no, it’s okay, time for sleep. It’s okay.’ Just pretend like you’re already asleep.”
“My body won’t let me!”
I told her to keep trying I would check on her once I was ready for bed.
“Get ready as fast as you can,” she said.
When I was ready, I climbed into bed with Ben.
“I had a good night with you,” I said.
“I had a great night with you,” he said.
I padded down the hallway and climbed in next to Nora.
“I’m so tired Nora, I bet I can fall asleep faster than you can.”
“Are you asleep now?” she asked immediately.
“Are you asleep now?”
“Are you asleep now?”
“Stop. Go to sleep.”
For a long time, there was only the sound of constant wiggling and the sniffling of a stuffed up little nose.
I feigned sleep.
More wiggling ensued.
I lay inert.
The wiggles continued and increased in intensity. Feet jabbed into my calves. Finally, I little arm jutted through mine and she locked elbows with me. The wiggling stopped. She slept.
I padded back down the plush hallway rug to my husband.