The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Sleep Tight

This is something I wrote for my son, something we go through almost every night. It is one of those memories that will live with me forever.
I sit by your side as you lie in your cot, looking at you forcing your eyes shut.
“Now be a good little boy and go to sleep,” I say softly.
I hear a mischievous little giggle; you toss and turn this way and that.
“Shhh…” I say soothingly, gently massaging your head.
The next thing I know, you’ve kicked off your blankets and your big brown eyes are open wide. You don’t look too sleepy to me. I sigh inwardly, praying for patience.
“Read me a story,” you say imperiously; and then, as an afterthought “…please.”
“All right, but I will only read one. Which one shall it be tonight?”
I give you three choices and after you say a firm “No” to all of them, we reach a compromise on a fourth book that I had not chosen but which I know you really like.
So I cover you, and all your stuffed animals, and I pick up the book.
“Now hush. Close your eyes and try to sleep.”
Obediently you close your eyes and I start to read. From time to time I see you looking at me through almost imperceptible slits in your eyelids. But I’m used to your little tricks. I stop reading.
“Close your eyes or I won’t finish the story.”
The slits disappear but there is still a mischievous grin on your cheeky little face. I finish reading and I hear the usual plea, “Read another one please.”
“No little Lovebug,” I reply gently, “it is late and you need to rest, so tomorrow you can run and play and have heaps of fun. Good night. Love you lots.” I kiss his forehead, brushing aside the slightly damp hair on his forehead, delighting in his own particular little boy smell. I make sure he is tucked up and warm and his favourite rabbit, Hop, is by his side.
“Goodnight,” he replies gravely, “I love you mummy.” Then he shuts his eyes. This time it’s for real. Ah, I finally hear a tired yawn, followed by another, longer one. He moves around for a bit, making himself comfortable for the night. Then he lies still and soon he starts to breathe deeply and evenly. He is asleep.
“Sleep tight, little Lovebug,” I whisper, blowing a kiss to his sleeping form. I stand there for a while, gazing in wonder at his rosy pink cheeks, at his tightly-shut eyes and his long curling lashes. There is a peace and serenity in the air that is only broken by his even breathing. His face has a look of perfect innocence and I wonder how it is even possible that he is ever mischievous. At that moment, my heart feels completely overwhelmed with love for him. All the naughtiness of the day is forgiven. Tomorrow is a blank page.
I leave his room and tip-toe around the house, bending down every now and then, to pick his scattered toys.


  1. That was so beautiful, I miss my little boy, he is 6'2" and 29yrs old now, treasure the memories they fly by.

  2. Amen! How true. Maybe you should write version 2 entitled Sleep Tight with daddy. It will be 1 paragraph and include hostile behavior from our defiant son. LOL. I love him to pieces too. You captured the essence of what we encounter each night.


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