I look over and see the daffodils, beautiful in their fleeting spring display. They seem to be leaning in and listening. They are circled, with open petals. It turns out they are gathered round a lonely tulip. The tulip is battered, its leaves and petals chewed by some critter. It has a war story. It survived the rodent and lived to tell about it. It blooms several years in a row with no help from any daft gardener. It is a tough bulb, a hardy flower, the rough character in the flower bed. It is a leader. So the daffodils lean in to listen.
The children love it when I tell them stories before bed. The stories are all over the map. Sometimes they are easy–a spin on the Thomas the Tank Engine stories for example. Sometimes they are exotic, like the family that sails around the world and visits various sites. Sometimes they are just plain silly. If want to get them to sleep faster, I do what I can to make them boring.
I put the kids to bed last night, so they got a decent story. It was about a group of explorers who traveled the southwest looking for a magic rock. They narrowed it down and then searched for weeks by foot, drinking water from puddles and peering under cactus plants. Finally, they discovered a staircase made of narrow steps in a steep wall that could only be seen in the setting sun. After waiting the night, they climbed the dangerous wall and discovered the rock among thousand year old corn and baskets. It turns out all of them made a wish and the wish came true. Was it because of the magic rock? Or not?
They left the rock in its place and told no one about it, so who knows? The kids went to bed wondering. This can backfire, of course, when they keep asking questions about the story. Tonight my wife puts the kids to bed. They asked for me and complained when I said no, it was Mom’s turn. She doesn’t tell the same caliber of stories, I guess, at least not as regularly.
I like the ones where the family travels the world. They see all kinds of interesting things and meet curious people, like the woman who wears only purple who seems to show up on every continent. How does she get around, that purple woman? I get to imagine that our family is doing the traveling, and I hope I am planting the seeds for our children to want to travel. One of these days we may.
They are drifting off now, story over, such as it was tonight. I need to plan ahead for tomorrow night’s story. I am not sure what it will contain, but the purple woman hasn’t made and appearance in far too long. She needs some story time. I am thinking she may get it in about 24 hours.