Prompt #7: Walk us through your bedtime routine as a kid. As a teen. Anything you still do now? Mom before Mom series
By that title alone, I hope there is an “oldie but goodie” playing in your head. I loved to be sung to as a child. I danced with my step-dad to “Lullaby” by Billy Joel at my wedding… it was magic, in his arms, wishing my Dad was still alive, but having a man who cares so much for me holding me there on the empty dance floor.
That dance brought me back to childhood- of times when I stood on my Dad’s feet in the living room in my footie pajamas extending those “five more minutes” for ten. I never had a true routine that I can remember as a youth, and if I dare devulge too much about college, I would have to admit I fell asleep standing up against my bed more than once, and even in a pile of “I thought he loved me tears” at least twice.
What I remember most about my youth is: “I can’t sleep”. As I stood at the top of our stairs, my parents peered past the threshold between the front hall and kitchen. There I was, pretending I had been asleep for a half hour and now was unable to remain in bed. “Do you need a cup of tea?” my Dad would ask. “Yes.”
Mom would bring me tea and rub my head, my back, my arms, hands, legs and feet repeating “relax”. I do this for Addie now. It works like a charm to get her to calm. Many nights my Dad would come in a sleep with me until I really was in dream land and not pretending. Other times I set my TV timer for 15 minutes, and inevitably, it became just like my alarm, but in reverse. I kept tacking on 5 minutes until I finally fell asleep holding the remote, or sat petrified because I had just watched a mini-marathon of Unsolved Mysteries. I would only hide when I heard my parents at the door to my bedroom. I quickly hit the power button and closed my eyes. It never worked. They knew I was awake.
As a teen, my routine was to shower after work- being a dishwasher is kind of gross- finish homework and go to sleep. I was an athlete, so I never had the opportunity to sleep in and miss morning classes (not in by 9am means no practice that day and no game that week), so I tried to get in at least 6 hours. Even in high school, when my Mom got home late from seeing her last session (she’s a family therapist), I would ask her to make me tea.
The funny thing is, 68% of the time, I never drank the tea. It was a way to lure someone to stay awake with me and talk a little longer.
As a mom, my routine is milk, pajamas, diaper, 3 books, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, prayers and bed for Addie, followed by a glass of wine and pumping for me. Dave usually gets sleepy around this time, and I always ask for tea. As usual, it’s a ploy to not be awake and alone. To have someone to talk to as I wind down for the night.
A routine? Perhaps not. But I assure you, if I ask you for tea at 10pm, what I mean is “I care about you and want to spend another few minutes with you today.”