love: chapter two
January 9th, 2009
In the beginning, as he learned about us and as we learned about him we started forming routines. Out of nothing. Silly things, repeated, became our days and formed our beautiful life.
Like this…one morning turning the stereo on for breakfast, repeated the next day and the next. And then I was asking every morning “Shall I play some music?” and he would smile and, with both hands in the air waving back to me, he’d motion the sign we made up for morning music.
Our favorite morning song quickly became “Three Little Birds”, originally sung by Bob Marley but performed for us by Elizabeth Mitchell. He knew the song immediately when he heard the first bit and he would get so excited, his little feet kicking in his high chair.
Sometime around breakfast Rich would appear, ready for work. He’d eat his breakfast while we finished ours. And when Rich was ready to leave, we’d walk him to the garage door and wait there as he drove out. This particular routine, paired with the same ritual at night welcoming Rich home as soon as we heard the garage door, became one of the most important things to Baby.
When Rich came home, greeted at the door by the two of us, he took the baby with him to change out of his work clothes while I started dinner. The two of them would make quite a ruckus up there, giggling and hooting and hollaring. It makes me smile to think of the two of them together, having so much fun.
Nearly every single night, Rich took care of the whole bedtime routine. What was at first quite a struggle (he woke up every hour throughout the night after hours of getting him to bed) became, I believe, what had to be the most peaceful going-to-bed hour in all of America.
At 8:00 on the dot every night, we’d watch the opening song of the Backyardigans. Most nights, we’d rewind it and watch it again. And maybe again. We’d all get up and dance and sing. Bathtime was next. And then, all clean and bathed and pajamaed, it was time for a little goodnight bottle and rock-a-bye-babying with me. With a kiss from me, the two of them would go up to the baby’s room. They read books and played games. And when the sunshine clock said 8:45, Rich would turn out the light and lay down on the floor. The baby could continue to play but Rich wouldn’t play back. Instead, he’d pretend to be really sleepy. After about 5 minutes, but sometimes immediately, the baby would go over to Rich and motion to the bed. “Are you ready to say goodnight?” And he’d nod yes. And then they went to every single thing in the room, all of the wonderful gifts that decorated his walls, and they’d say goodnight. “Goodnight cow jumping over the moon” “Goodnight little boy holding a rabbit” “Goodnight party cupcakes” “Goodnight sunshine” and so on until everyone got a proper tiding, Goodnight Moon style.
And then, like a little miracle, the prince would lie down in his bed, watching Rich until he left the room, and go to sleep.
You could paint all of those days in all those months he was with us with a broad stroke. We did the same sorts of things everyday. We read the same books, sang the same songs, played the same games, watched the same shows, walked the same paths. We learned all about each other, by heart.