24 hours in Lawrence Community stories

Of superheroes, rhinos, and raindrops

A mom’s letter to her son

May 22, 2007


May 10, 2007

Dear Simon,

All around town today, people are helping to document a day in the life of Lawrence. I'd like to record a day in our life, too-to find some way to capture the mundane yet precious moments that I experience every day with you and Max and Dad. Today, your sweet, ever-present chatter is especially on my mind.

From the time you began to communicate with baby sign language, I have loved to talk with you. I cherish having a window into your mind. But, you're a talkative guy at a talkative age, and by 8:00 in the evening, I'm usually desperate for quiet. I sometimes have to dig deep to find the patience to respond kindly when you want to tell me "just one more thing" before we finally say goodnight.

Still, a couple weeks ago, as the goodnight stretched on and on, a light bulb went on in my head. I realized that you wouldn't always want to tell me some fascinating fact about a dinosaur or share the silly thing your friend said at school. And I vowed to be a more enthusiastic listener, not just for your sake, but for mine, too.

Tonight we began what I hope will become a regular part of our bedtime routine. We skipped the books and talked. That's right, we turned out the light early, made ourselves comfortable, and made time just to talk.

First, you brainstormed new superhero concepts, like Frog-Man, Rhino-Man, Pillow-Man, Window-Man, and Nightlite-Man. You wanted me to promise to share your good ideas with Dad, but I confessed that I couldn't remember them all. You were momentarily disappointed.

"What else should we talk about?" I asked. "I'll tell you what I did in school," you replied. Ah, a mother's dream! What you described probably took only ten minutes of your four-hour day. Still, it was a glimpse, and I was glad to have it.

"Tell me what you did while I was at school," you said. So I told you how I went to give blood, and this piqued your interest. "They take real blood out of your body? What color is it?" "Red, like your curtain." You turned on your book light to look at your curtain. "Was it icky?" "No." Was it gross?" "No."

And I told you that I asked the Animal Maker to protect the honeybees. "Do you really talk to the Animal Maker?" you wanted to know. "How do you know where he is?"

"Do you want to tell me something else?" I said. "Yes. One-horned rhinos die more than two-horned rhinos." And you went on to explain why, with exuberant motions. I tucked you back in bed.

"I can't think of anything else to talk about. Ask me a question," you said "How was music class today?" I asked. "Good. We sang some songs I knew. Some songs I'd heard on a CD." "The Laurie Berkner CD?" "No, it was the song that goes 'pitter patter raindrops, I'm all wet'." "Oh, I've always liked that song."

"Tell me one more thing," you said. (Always, just one more thing:). "We'll talk more tomorrow," I answered. "Okay," you replied, cooperatively. We sang "Twinkle" and said our goodnights.

We didn't restore diplomatic relations between feuding countries, or break new ground in the mother-son relationship, or even come up with a good new superhero. But we shared some special moments. And that impatient feeling of mine was nowhere to be found. Instead, I could have talked until we both fell asleep. With a small change in routine and a medium-sized change in attitude, the bedtime chat became the best part of my day.

With love, today and every day,



Kelly Anderson 11 years ago

WOW.....that is MY son and more. Thanks for the idea of taking a struggle for night night into something that is too precious. I will do this with my son!!!!!

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