My wife snores. To describe her snoring would be inconsiderate and perhaps insensitive. I am neither of these things except when I am. I could paint a picture of the sounds that rise from her sleeping body and prevent me, nightly, from drifting to sleep, but to do so would be cruel; so please just understand my meaning when I say that her snoring is loud.
And so I was in the guest room, which is also my office, and the boy that won’t sleep was sleeping in the space he insisted was his to sleep in, despite it being the couch in the now empty living room.
I opened my eyes at a time they should have been shut. I had been sleeping soundly on a daybed in the night. The lights of countless electronics filled what would have been sky had I been outside and lying on my back. Or perhaps if I were dreaming.
But I was on my side and my eyes were open and there was a boy in front of me. I could make out his outline against light shadow and cloudy mind. It was the boy that sleeps soundly and he was awake.
Awake being a relative term in such that his eyes were open and he had walked through the dark to be standing silent at my side, but was not aware he had done so and not in the mood to talk about it.
This happens often. It means he needs to pee. I took him into the dark bathroom, pulled down his pants and waited while he did what his little sleeping brain knew he needed to. I carried him to his bed and placed him in it knowing he would never remember this moment, or the countless ones before it, when his father carried him through the house and made sure he was safe and dry. He would never remember it but he would know it and that knowledge would make him seek me again. There are moments yet to come.
I walked quietly through the house, guided by snores and the heavy breathing of sleeping dogs. I went into the living room that wasn’t as empty as it should be, scooped up the boy that won’t sleep, but had been for hours, and carried him back to his bed.
Somewhere in the hallway I heard a familiar noise and I looked down at the bundle snuggled against me. I saw dimples and a twinkling eye and I heard a deep laugh of sleepless joy holding promises of restless hours.
The laugh lingered like a melody and his song became our lullaby.