Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Good Night, Bug

The instant I heard the front door open, the sound of the spring on the screen door stretching to its limit, I sprang to my feet and ran toward the familiar sound. By the time the coiled metal had sprung back to its original shape and he had firmly planted both feet on the rug just inside the door, I had jumped up into his arms knowing no fear he wouldn’t catch me. As the door closed behind him he gave me a big squeeze, a kiss on the top of my head and the first of our nightly rituals was complete.

My dad rarely arrived home before dark and when your cue for bedtime is the illumination of the street lights outside in the small world of your neighborhood, late is anytime after the first firefly can be spotted in the rosebush wrapped around the light post lighting the way from the driveway to the front door. Therefore, our time was always too short.

Our embrace at the door lasted just a few moments; Too soon I was put back down onto the floor and I watched as he tossed his jacket onto the couch and unbuttoned the collar of his blue shirt. I followed him closely, taking two steps for every one of his long strides, as he strolled straight down the short, dimly lit hallway into the kitchen.

There he was met by my mother who, having heard him come in or maybe interpreted the sound of my pitter patter correctly, had already begun to re-warm what was left of the meal the two of us had eaten earlier that evening. She turned her head slightly and smiled at him over her shoulder. He gave her a quick peck on the cheek and took a deep breath to smell the sweet aroma of his soon-to-be late supper.

My mother informed me that it was time for bed. I looked over at my dad and gave him my most sad, most pathetic looking face in hopes that he would allow me to stay up just a little while longer. I thought if I could keep his gaze from meeting my mother’s eyes he would smile and give me a reprieve. Tonight, he turned immediately to my mother’s face and my hopes were instantly dashed.

I turned and ran upstairs to brush my teeth and get my pajamas on. I don’t know what my parents did while I got ready upstairs - maybe talked about my dad's day at work or my day at school; Whatever it was it never took very long. I had just jumped into bed, my head hitting the pillow just as my dad came through the doorway.

He walked over and pulled the covers up just over my chest. As I pulled my arms out from under the blankets another ritual began:

“Nighty night,” he said.
“Nighty night,” I echoed.

“Sleepy tight.”
“Sleepy tight.”

“See you in the morning.”
“See you in the morning.”

“Pleasant dreams.”
“Pleasant dreams.”

“I love you, Bug.”
“I love you, Daddy.”

And he smiled. He always smiled at the end of our exchange.

This post is part of The Blog Exchange. My name is Nancy and I am the proud mother of two rambunctious boys, ages two and four. I've been writing fiction most of my life, but like so many before me have become an avid blogger to tell the story of my reality. You can find Allison over at my blog, Just Thinking . . . , today where she has written a truly moving piece about her own father.


cathouse teri said...

Oh hell, is it almost Father's Day already? :)

I ordered my dad's gift this morning. I bought him some cedar grilling planks. I have no idea if he wants them, but he likes trying new things on the grill. Besides, I always buy people things that I like so that if they don't want it, they can give it to me!

That was a very moving and poignant story, Nancy!

(Now I gotta go look up "poignant" and see what it means. I gotta find out what I was saying!)

Jodi said...

Such a nice post. I actively remember Daddy coming home as the best part of my day.

chelle said...

My Dad worked away a lot and man oh man did I adore when he came home! Thanks for bringing back some warm and fuzzies!

Jenn said...

Very cute.

Jenn in Holland said...

So very sweet! I love the descriptions and the imagery in this piece, but most of all I love the emotion it conveys.
And that we call our youngest "Bug" is a bonus to the story too!
Enjoy the day.

Alex Elliot said...

What a wonderful post, Nancy! I loved all the descriptions.

nutmeg said...

I just went through a very similar ritual before jumping on-line. I hope I smiled!

Heather said...

Beautiful post.

Real Life Drama Queen said...

Cute story.. thanks for the links also!