Giggles at 5 AM.
There's a storm screaming outside; torrential rain, rolling thunder - the works. And two littles are hunkered down in our bed, having wandered in still half-asleep after a particularly loud crack of thunder.
A small flashlight illuminates the darkness and the kids shift and wiggle, commenting nervously about the storm- the thunder and lightening being just a little too dramatic and difficult for their young little minds to not run crazy with. I draw them close and assure them it's just God up there doing His thing. I tell them He's bowling (thunder) and that his candles (lightening) are flickering in the wind as He, like us, has no electrical power right now. They seem to like this explanation (5 AM is just too early for a science lesson), and accept it more as they relax and settle deeper in the covers...and then they start to crack jokes.
Aware that I'm probably not going back to sleep anytime soon, and wanting to see how these moments play out, I let them giggle and wiggle and banter back and forth. I shush them a little but only playfully. I'm having too much fun. Aidan often doesn't hear things right so when I say something to the affect of "lay down and get some sleep," he replies in old-lady fashion "heh? you want me to sweep?" or something equally nonsensical. This of course makes us all laugh and in typical little-kid fashion, a game ensues of rhyming silly words with anything anyone says thereafter. Joe is in and out of broken sleep but I am awake, cherishing every moment with my two older kids. The two younger ones are asleep in their beds, no doubt completely ignorant of the storm outside and the comedy club in the next room.
Aidan holds a flashlight for his sister as she makes her way to the bathroom. He leans over his snoring daddy to shine it toward the bathroom across the hall, instead of walking with her as she begged him to do. A little brother's love sometimes only goes so far, especially at 5 in the morning.
This reminds me of the times when I was young and we had overnight storms. No matter what fights took place earlier, we'd all ban together to accompany each other to the bathroom, hold a flashlight for each other while getting some water or a snack, or just snuggling under the blankets as we tried to pretend we weren't really scared of the storm. My favorite memory from these times is having a big "camp out" in the tiny hallway that connected our bedrooms. Not quite sure how 7 of us fit in that space with our blankets and pillows and the all-important stuffed animals. But somehow, we managed. Close to the bathroom and our parents' room, we hunkered down in the dark hallway, sharing giggles, worries, blankets and hugs; comforted more by our warm bodies and closeness than the single flashlight we shared between us. Of course, mom was usually part of the equation at some point.
Comforting words are shared between the two in my bed when nervousness ensues after a loud explosion of thunder and lightening. Hiding under the blanket making sure all body parts are covered. Quietly acknowledging we're in this together. This is the stuff that memories are made of. Nights like tonight remind me to take each moment with my children and help them to create lasting snapshots of childhood which they can pull out when they're older and comfort themselves with in the midst of even the craziest and difficult storms of their life.