The end of the day is always something Wife and I look forward to. The children go to bed and we can unwind, read, lay down in bed, fall asleep and recharge our batteries for the challenges and battles we’ll face the next day.
Before I can slip into Dreamland, however, I have a few obligations I must honor with the cherubs. Every night, I am expected to provide a story. The Oppressed and The Boy want a story before they fall asleep, and they want different kinds of stories.
The Boy is first. There is usually some negotiation on which stories we’re going to read. I’ve bought some books for his room that I thought he would enjoy. He hasn’t enjoyed them and we read something else. If I try to read something he doesn’t want, he’ll get out of bed, take the book out of my hands and replace it with a more acceptable book. if I try to read something else, he will get back out of bed and fix my transgression and make sure it remains fixed. We read his selection(s).
He’s chosen some novels and novellas for story time. We haven’t finished them, but we certainly started a few. Again, I try to recommend those books we’ve started. I get into them and would love to see what happens next. Alas, his heart and attention span have moved on, and we’re going to read something different.
I read until he falls asleep. Once I hear snores, I make my way to The Oppressed’s room. It’s time for another round of Story Time. This time, though, I don’t read. This time, I am expected to make up a story, usually about a princess. It has to be a new story every night. It can’t be the same as one I told earlier. Variations are acceptable, but no duplicates. Different night, different story. She likes to test my creativity.
When this is done, I get to power down for the evening and rest until the next day’s demands require me to be vertical again. I’m not needed until then… Or so I think.
There have been a few occasions where I have been derelict in my duties. As mentioned before, I read to The Boy until he falls asleep, then proceed to The Oppressed. There are times when The Boy will be standing at the door of The Oppressed, insisting I left while he was still awake (never happened) and informs me I must return to his room to continue reading the book I never finished. The Oppressed is a good sport about it and lets me return to finish the book I already read. Once that is done, I return to The Oppressed to finish my story obligations. She doesn’t mind because usually I start the routine over, which means an extra story for her.
Stories are finished. I can go to my own bed and put another day behind me. The morning will call with its usual duties, some of which include telling another story, like the one you’re reading now. At least this time I don’t need to wait for anyone to fall asleep before I can walk away.
Stories finished. Children sleeping. Daddy can now end the day. I go to my room and climb into bed. I don’t need a story. I have enough drama in my life and it tires me. I fall asleep until duty summons me again.