When Casey was five years old, she told me that I didn’t play enough with her at night. At first I started to get defensive because I knew that not only did I play games with her, but gave her lots of attention. Then my conscience kicked in: "Perhaps you ought to try that listening stuff you teach in your training classes!" (It is tough having a strong conscience!)
For once I held back my response and instead said, “You sound frustrated, tell me more.” She went on to say that Daddy and I were the two biggest people in the family and we slept downstairs together. She said that because she was an only child and her bedroom was upstairs, she hated going to bed alone. I took all of this in, and tried to figure how to solve this situation. She then went on further to tell me that she didn’t expect me to start sleeping with her instead of Daddy, but she wanted me to know why she put off going to bed at night. John and I talked about it and we decided to change our family routine. We decided to:
· Turn off the 10:00 news (who wants to hear all that stuff before going to bed anyway?)
· All go upstairs together to “tuck Casey in”
· Watch while John feeds the fish
· Talk about the best thing that happened to us that day so everyone can enjoy it
· Sometimes sing silly songs and even do dance routines together (we’re certain that Broadway is looking for us)
· Throw fluorescent stars across the room after making wishes
· Sometimes hide to scare each other
· Always pray for other people
· Join hands in a family blessing
· Enjoy closing Casey’s eyes and lips and kissing her goodnight
We always do this ritual even if one of us is out of town (or even in college!) by using cell phones!
I often wonder what would have happened if I had argued with Casey when she was trying to tell me why she was so upset. I know what would have happened. “They” (our family) wouldn’t have lived happily ever after and we would have missed 16 years of what is always the best time of our day and night…Good night, Casey.