While I was in Utah with Elsa for the weddings a few months ago, Micah got to put the boys to bed every night. And he did a pretty darn good job of it. When I came home, the boys were clamoring for stories, stories, stories. We read a lot of stories at our house, but these were different stories. These were bedtime stories and they didn’t come from a book. They came straight from Dad’s head. I got to lie in on one of the story times soon after I got home and was impressed by the spontaneous creativity pouring from Micah’s brain. The boys were enthralled and ate up every word. They remembered the previous stories really well. I was grateful for Micah and for his willingness and ability to do such a thing, because it was certainly not my strong suit.
But several weeks ago the boys gave me a chance to make up my own story. Aack. It was not an easy thing for me. But I tried, and by the time I’d left their room, I’d woven half a yarn about an egg named Robbie (short for Roberta) who accidentally escaped the chicken coop and found herself floating on a leaf down a stream. The boys were desperate to hear how the story ended, but I wasn’t in a hurry to try to come up with a resolution on the fly. Still, it had to be done. Robbie could float on that leaf forever. So earlier this week we sat down and got Robbie out of the water with the help of Figaro the sparrow and Troutman the fish. Casa the turtle helped Robbie back up to the road where she was picked up and brought back to the farm where she was put back in the coop and allowed to hatch.
And with that, I thought my spontaneous bedtime stories had come to a close.
I was wrong. Last night Simon had a bit of a rough time. And after I’d talked him through it, he insisted I tell him a story about Robbie the chick (which is who Robbie the egg became when she hatched). So I made up another yarn involving Robbie and Muffles the cat. And I breathed a sigh of relief when I made it to the end. When Oliver went back in their room, (Oliver had been excused while Simon and I had our chat) Simon told him the story in a way that made it sound really exciting and interesting. Or rather, showed me that he had been really excited and interested in it.
I always thought it would be really cool to be able to tell bedtime stories – stories that I just made up on the fly. I didn’t think I really ever could, though, because although I love books and words and reading, I don’t have a great imagination. So I’m thrilled that my story turned out. I’m thrilled that the boys were so into it that they remembered it for weeks, and that Simon was so excited that he could hardly wait to tell his brother what happened. I’m grateful to Micah for starting it. I’m grateful for the chance to lie there with the boys and take them to another place that is just as new and undiscovered for me as it is for them. I’m grateful that they are so forgiving of my storytelling weaknesses that they don’t mind having me back again and again. And I’m grateful for the chance to tell stories and let my imagination work a little bit harder than it usually does.