Friday, January 25, 2008

The Family Bed


I slept with all my babies for at least some of their infancies.
It seems so long ago now, but some nights it all comes back.

The boy twin, age nine, has got to be the most cheerful human on the planet. He talks non-stop, and too loud. We all say to him at times, "You're talking loud," and without even pausing in his story, or slowing the flow of words, his voice drops - literally as if we had just reached over and turned the volume down.

His cheerfulness remained even through the long hours of trips to the bathroom last night, to grip the sides of the toilet and cough and spit out all the trouble in his tummy. He would pause, and gasp, but he could still talk -- giving a little running commentary of the event: "Well (gasp), that hurt. Maybe--....Okay, I think I might be---....boy that makes me choke!" Smiling, philosophical, he would trudge back to our bed and curl up underneath the big quilt while I cleaned up.

At 4am, I had to burst his bubble though, because he was still optimistically talking about "feeling better in the morning, and I know I can go to school." I rubbed his back and broke the news as he coughed into the toilet. Finally the tears came, and he slumped into me, revealing his desire to earn that perfect attendance certificate that last year Zach won, and that this year he had wanted to win so badly.

I said maybe he would win the award for the Best Kid In The World, and he nodded agreeably. You don't have to be humble to be cheerful.

Then when we slid back into bed, he was buried underneath covers and so was I. The sun was coming up and I was most definitely not ready to face it. As I floated off into another light doze (really the only sleep available with a child in your bed), I felt those tiny fingers reach into mine and we held hands secretly.

There is something about sleeping together that is a binding, bonding, intimate thing. It's beyond hugs and kind words, or time spent together in the day. It's sharing time and warmth in that ethereal space of the midnight coma, mixed with the semi-conscious awareness of another close by. The silent presence of a dear one who is just keeping company with you in the long dark night.

Every once in while it all comes back.

7 comments:

Molly said...

Oh poor James! I remember wanting that perfect attendance award so badly, but I never seemed to get it in elementary. In middle school, I had perfect attendance one year, only to find out that they didn't do the certificate in middle school; what a let-down.
It sounds like he will bounce back fine though. I love how you said "you don't have to be humble to be cheerful" haha :)

Joann said...

Oh, that makes me want to sleep with all my girls tonight!! I love the part about "secretly holding hands." Precious.

cjs said...

chills!

Molly said...

P.S. That kitty picture is adorable!

Kulio said...

thanks! I loved that kitty pic too -- and he is all better thank goodness. It was so weird because yesterday during the day he stopped talking for a long time. Then we put him in a chair and pushed it up near the kitchen so he could lay in it and watch us eat (ha - he wasn't hungry) - and he fell asleep in it, and then he started talking in his sleep and waving his hands around! It was sort of creepy! He is all better - phew.

oh and ha molly about the middle school not giving a certificate! So sad! They could have mentioned your name at LEAST.

kool kenna said...

Poor james!!!!! :(

riahbell said...

ditto!