This is a submission in our monthly contest. October’s theme is Determination. Enter your own here!
The light flicked on again. I stop and stare at the shining coming through the bottom of the door.
“How can he still be awake?” I ask my husband.
“He’s going to be exhausted tomorrow,” he says while shaking his head. I take a deep breath.
“Okay. My turn to check this time.” Setting my laptop on the couch, I have a feeling that this won’t be the last moment getting up.
Padding across our dark wood floors, I lean on our three-year-old son’s door and gently push it open. His lamp is on. There are toys strewn across the floor. That’s when I notice him. Our son is sitting on his bed wearing a hard hat and boots with his superhero cape tied around his neck. He’s meticulously lining up his dinosaurs on his pillow. He looks at me. Based on his expression, I think I walked in at a very busy time.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
Hmmm, a one-word response. This usually means he has no intention of stopping and would like me to leave the room closing the door behind me.
“It’s time for bed. You have to get up for school tomorrow.” Carefully slipping the hard hat off his head and tugging the boots from each foot, my son stops to look at me.
“I don’t want to sleep,” he whimpers.
“How come?” I ask while gathering each brontosaurus and tossing them in the bucket.
“I’m scared. There are monsters in my room, and it gets too dark.” Yawning, he crawls into my lap.
After checking under the bed, in the closet and in his drawers, I confirmed the expected. There are no monsters in his room. Calling dad for backup reassurance, he does a quick sweep of the room and agrees there are no one-eyed furry creatures lurking in the dark.
With another kiss and hug, we flick the light.
“Now go to sleep.”
I find my cozy spot on the couch and park my tired body. What’s on Netflix? Flipping through the channels looking for a new binge series, I hear a car horn. Ignoring it, I keep searching.
A police siren? I glance back at my son’s door. Sure enough, he’s awake again. This is the third time going into his room. Feelings of frustration are boiling.
Not bothering to knock I walk into his room.
“We just checked for monsters, and there is nothing in here. Lights out. Now.”
He looks at me. A slight smirk is forming on his face. For some reason, I’m starting to think I’m being tricked.
“I have to go to the bathroom.” He’s squirming around in his bed. I send him the Mama Bear stare.
“Hurry up and go. No more playing around.” Picking up his little body and walking to the bathroom he randomly starts sharing a friendship problem from school. This quick trip to the john has suddenly turned into a long drawn out affair of problem-solving.
“I’m sorry those boys were running away from you at the playground. Remember, you want to play with friends that make you feel good. If they always hurt your feelings, then it’s best to find a new friend.”
With a nod of his head and smile on his face, I’m feeling confident we solved the world’s problems for the day, and we can finally get some sleep.
Again, lights out. Eyeing the open spot on the couch, it begins calling my name. Lingering outside his door for another minute, I take a deep breath. Burying myself into the cushions of the couch I close my eyes. It’s late. There’s no time for an episode of anything.
“Looks like we forgot to take that Christmas book out of his room again.” Charlie Brown’s “O Tannenbaum” was playing from down the hall. Such a thoughtful gift from Auntie, but there should be a silent button on musical books.
This boy is determined tonight. Pointing my finger at my husband, he takes the cue and claims it’s his turn.
After he closes the door, it becomes silent again. Angels begin to sing, or maybe that’s in my mind. My eyes start to feel heavy. I drift off to sleep.
Unsure of how long I’d been out, I sit up and look around. Where is my husband? Maybe he went to bed. I clumsily make my way to our bedroom fumbling for the lamp. Click. Staring at a messy bed, with the cat sprawled out at the foot, it’s empty.
Poking my head in our son’s room, there curled up under his covers is my three-year-old. Wedged in next to him is my husband crammed into the toddler bed. I smile and for the last time, turn off the light.