My evening soundtrack

You must eat real food!
If you’re not off that computer in 5 minutes…
No. More. Handstands.
Wheat Thins alone do not constitute a healthy lunch.

It’s late, and I’m tired. I lost my temper with my children earlier this evening over the myriad phrases I’ve said a thousand times. Too often, these shrill phrases feel like the soundtrack of my evenings. By the time bedtime arrives, I am so frazzled that I’m not sure I can outlast the children. Of course, I have no choice, so I continue.

Upstairs we settle into my bed, and the younger one reads out loud in French. A year ago he could barely do this; now even when he stumbles, he corrects himself and goes on. He is concentrated and sure. Next, I read aloud. The boys ask questions, move around, clip their toenails, draw, get water, but mostly they listen. Sometimes, like tonight, the book leads us to unexpected discussions about things like what is a sijo and what makes one poem better than another. (Thank you, Jason Reynolds, for putting poetry in Miles Morales: Spider Man.) No matter how frustrating the evening has been, as we read aloud, the complaints fade away and we find ourselves together in a new place. I read and I read. The boys almost always ask for one more page…

And then, I snuggle the 8-year-old into and sing to him. Three lullabies. Every night. We say goodnight and he smothers me with kisses, triumphantly exclaiming, “I win!” I have to respond, “You always win!” and am rewarded with his giggle as I turn off the light and move into his brother’s room. There, my newly-serious 10-year-old says, “Would you like to have a conversation? What would you like to talk about?” and we snuggle in for five more minutes of murmured chitchat.

Lights out and I the stairs creak as I head back to the kitchen. Brief silence followed by sudden gratitude that my evening soundtrack is richer and more varied than I originally thought.

 

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7 thoughts on “My evening soundtrack

  1. Yes! Sometimes I try to listen in to my soundtrack… I get mad at myself as I lose my patience with the kids… and then when everyone is in bed, and ready for snuggles … and then quietly asleep, I have a moment to just feel the love… and reset a bit. 🙂

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  2. Oh my your dredge up those memories of those exasperating, wonderful, stressful, child filled after work, exhausted, magical evenings……I do miss them…but as a Grammy, I sometimes get to read until their damp heads fall into the crook of my neck….

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  3. Nice! I love the bedtime routine! But I lost my temper a bit last night too…someone has misplaced his glasses and I had to do a search. They still haven’t turned up! I hope my kids never outgrow the bedtime reading. 🙂

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  4. Oh, I can relate to this on so many levels….patience and parenting – so hard! I love how you ended this post, as parenting can also be so fulfilling.

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  5. So lovely! It’s hard to stay patient and regulated ourselves at the end of a long day. “Dig deep” is my internal mantra most nights! I loved the description of read aloud. My 15 yr old and I still have nightly read aloud and even though sometimes I just want to go to bed already, it’s also time that I cherish. (We’re reading The Outsiders right now.)

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