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Bedtime Stories

My husband often does the last leg of snuggle-down bedtime with our daughter Z. It's their time together. It's also my time to have a few moments in my day completely to myself. Which for the last three years has been-- you know-- rare.

Recently my husband started telling Z made-up bedtimes stories as she drifts off to sleep. He just starts with a little seed of a character or plot piece and keeps going. He often comes out of the room and recounts the silly stories to me and this, of coarse, makes me very jealous what with being her mom and a storyteller. Last night I had a chance to get in on the act.

Chris wasn't feeling so great, so I got to do the snuggle-down bedtime portion of our evening. Z laid her head down on the pillow and I got myself settled in at the foot of her bed.

"Would you like a story?", I asked.

"Yes, mommy".

Sometimes a nighttime story includes the French Bulldog calendar her Aunt gave her for Christmas.

"OK. Once upon a time there was a little kitty who loved to sit at the apartment window and watch the tree just outside waving around in the breeze. The kitty imagined that there was a family of turtles who lived in the tree and so he decided to go outside for the first time to find out..."

And on went my story about the kitty trying to find its way out of the building to the tree. It was complete nonsense and the plot left so much to be desired. As I was telling it I kept critiquing myself, telling myself that I should be able to come up with something better. That I was going to ruin my daughter's sense of story for life.

But then I got to the end of my story, in which the family of turtles appears at the base of the tree through an elevator door that opens up and the kitty and the turtles meet each other for the first time. I was pretty sure Z was drifted off to dreamland and that I could say "The end" and walk out of the room. Instead, she rolled over and in a soft, high, half-sleep voice said, "That was a good story, Mommy".

Well, heart melt.

Hopefully her and I will get the chance to create, tell, and read excellently crafted stories with rich plots and character development together. But, telling that story to her last night allowed me to give myself permission to also just play and tell her a nonsense story and create that moment together. Because sometimes telling a story is as much about the moment as it is the plot line.

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