The days were golden and the memories are still there in my veins...
Ahhh, that were my childhood days...
~ Aanchal Valecha
My Grands have stayed up late to toast marshmallows over the outdoor fire pit. They now are just tucked into new beds, in a new room downstairs. Two aunties sleep in the guest room across the hall so they can intercept if the kids (now eight and ten) are uncomfortable with this new sleeping arrangement.
After all is quiet, I tuck into bed upstairs with tea and cookie. It's been a full day. I even got an end of September swim with the youngest. My eyelids are heavy. Before tea and cookie are gone, footsteps on the stairs. The door opens and two Grands are standing at the end of the bed, each with a twinkle and a grin. "Grandma," they announce decisively, "we can't sleep!"
Not so enthusiastically, I ask, "How did you get past your aunties?"
I am informed, "We looked in but they are asleep." Now, it is about ten-thirty. We chat and then I tuck them in again. Going upstairs and just dozing off, two little silhouettes appear at the end of the bed. Now, I do know they honestly cannot sleep. So out we go for a snack. Food works, sometimes. Not this time. So another try, then another, and another with books being read in between. Finally, back to their beds again. Then, one asks if I will go right to sleep when I go back upstairs. I assure them, I will "in a blink." It is now going on three in the morning.
That did it -- oh, me of little forethought. Both sit straight up, stating, they can't sleep if no one else is awake in the house! The final solution. Upstairs they come. One crawls in with me and the other falls asleep in the bed across the hall.
Yet, I still have this little face on the pillow looking at me with the sweetest smile, all buttoned-eyed. What to do? Sheep, I haven't tried sheep. I explain how it works. We will count sheep jumping over hedgerow styles -- counting back from ten to one. I begin, taking my time describing what a hedgerow might look like (with a little embellishment) and then we got those sheep all lined up and ready to go. Eyes are shut, little hands are up under the chin as if in prayer.
All ten get over and eyes are still shut. Yeah, it worked! Then, eyes pop open with a little giggle. Resigned to my fate, I sigh, "Ok, let's start at twenty." My turn to pray. Fifteen sheep make it, I glance over, not a twitch in that little face. Sleep has thankfully arrived. Testing time. Without breaking cadence, now didn't one of those darn sheep get its hind foot caught in the hedgerow style at number five. Holding my breath, I wait for a response, none. Silence and gratitude twin my moment. Oh, a little giggle but not from me.
I am out of ideas and now it is three-thirty. Defeated, I turn out the lights, drape my arm over my Grand's chest hopefully for comfort and suggest we just lie still. Five minutes later, without sheep, books, or food, we both succumb.
I could look at the night as a bit of a disaster if I had wanted rest? Yet, we had twinkles, laughs, and stories. Eventually, they didn't know how to solve the sleep problem any more than I. We were indeed bonded in helplessness.
At the family dinner the next day, my youngest Grand turns to me and announces with excitement and a giggle, "Grandma, it was the number five sheep that got its hind foot caught going over the style."
"Indeed it was, Granddaughter." Hmm, a little gold tint from a sleepless night -- maybe a childhood memory?
Could it be in years to come, my Grands will say, as Valecha observed,
"The days (and even the nights) were golden and the memories are still there in (our) veins...
Ahhh, that were (our) childhood days..."