Parenting can be very hard work, but there are unexpected moments of fun.
Our children are young children - a one year old boy and a little girl on the verge of four. One of the hardest parts about parenting them at this age is that we lose a lot of sleep. My son, for the first 14 months, would not sleep more than three hours together; my daughter (who was once a good sleeper) has become fitful and fearful of being alone. There have been few nights in the last eighteen months (counting the last few months of my wife’s pregnancy) that I can say were truly restful. And the best that can be said of me when I climb out of bed to help one of my children is that I mutter softly rather than curse out loud.
Now though they seem to be giving us a bit of a break. There are times when it’s wonderful to wake to the sound of my children. My son, in the morning, will spend some time laughing and giggling to himself and let me wake gently. And there are mornings when my daughter will rub my elbow until I wake and then give me a big bright smile. These moments seem to be coming more frequently now.
But we had a uniquely happy incident the other night with my daughter. My wife and I were sleeping. I was in the midst of a deep sleep, so that when I first heard the sound of my daughter shouting, it came into my dream like a voice from behind a wall. It wasn’t until my wife shot up in bed that the movement brought me fully awake.
“Mommy!” my daughter shouted. It was an angry shout. Not a panicky I’m scared by something shout or the weak shout of a little girl about to be sick, but a loud angry shout like one that comes from disgust and disbelief. It was really a sound of a much older person that we heard and it left us a little confused.
“What is it sweetheart?” we both said in unison, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s raining!” she said with even more disgust, as if the rain was a contractor, working without a permit and on a Sunday to boot.
There was a long pause, neither of us knowing exactly what do say, and the only sound was the heavy drops of rain on the roof.
“It happens,” my wife said after several breaths, “Do you want a drink of water?”
“Ok Mommy,” she said in a happier tone, “In a blue glass please.”
We both took the walk down the hall to her room after a quick stop to get the water and helped her get back to sleep.
I haven’t been able to hear the sound of the rain on the roof since without smiling.