To The Moon and Back, Remember?

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Of course I remember. Bedtime was always special. It was the most important ritual in our home.

The days were busy. Really busy. In fact, I don’t know how we did it all. Most of my friends look back and feel the same wonder. We owned and operated a business, volunteered in the community and raised three sons who were busy with school, church and sports. We even made time to get together with other parents. We did it all and honestly, it was a fabulous stage in our lives. Such fun times! But bedtime, well, it was special. That was the day’s finale. Our time to connect and know that all was well with the world and within our family.

When our sons were young, there were snacks and books, followed by hugs and kisses. And our children were always tucked in. When they got a little older and were able to complete their bedtime chores on their own and read to themselves, I would sometimes hear “Mom, can you come tuck me in?” I knew it really meant that they just didn’t want to get up to shut off the light, but I took advantage of the situation. I still pulled up blankets and told them that I loved them. Sometimes we talked for a little while. I appreciated the peaceful, shared time.

It wasn’t long before they simply said good night and went to their rooms to get ready for bed. It usually had a quick “good night – love you” thrown in, but there were no lights to shut off and no covers to tuck in. I often wondered exactly when was the last time I tucked in one of my sons. Did I know it was the last time? It seems important – like I should remember this, but I don’t.

But this is how it happens. They simply grow up and habits change. Needs change appropriately and we begin new habits. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss some of the old ones. It doesn’t mean they aren’t cherished.

We blinked and they were in high school with us waiting up for them to get home safely. Our concerns had changed. They were growing up. Before we knew it they had left for college and then started their own lives in their own homes. Time does indeed fly.

So some nights when my husband and I are getting ready for bed and it’s quiet I still hear. . . .

You had better start getting ready for bed.

Go in and do your bathroom stuff.

Mom, can I have a good night snack?

Will you read to me?

Tell me a story about the invisible little boy.

Will you say my prayers with me?

I love you to the moon and back.

Goodnight. Sleep tight.

I remember the hugs and the kisses. I remember how those little arms felt around my neck and I remember the love. And I know that the love isn’t what goes away. New stages replace the old stages. It’s life. The daily routines just change. One day I will be tucking in my babies’ babies. I think about this and it makes me smile.

And then I shut off the light and tuck myself in.


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