our nightly routine has been the same since f was tiny. dinner, bath, brush teeth, read books, sing songs, go to sleep. over the years it's become comforting, i think, the knowing what's next and how close we are to lights out. sometimes the best conversations we've had all day happen as i'm tucking her in. sometimes we reconnect if we've been at odds. sometimes she asks me profound 5 year old questions that give me a chance to open my mind to what's going on in hers. sometimes she sings to me, or talks about people we love who have died, or says her own little version of a prayer for, say, her great-grandma or the baby lizard we found squashed outside our back door.
tonight was not one of those times.
when she picked her books, i was tickled that she chose a walt whitman poetry collection along with mother goose and 'where the wild things are'. she brought them over, and we started with mother goose, and i was trying not to do anything that would somehow alter her book-vibes and change her mind about the walt whitman. i read the poems with funny voices like she likes, i read a few more when she asked, i was doing everything in my power not to rock the boat so that we might, in fact, actually get to the whitman poems before she changed her mind. she wanted 'where the wild things are' next, so i obliged. so far, so good. and when that ended, i nonchalantly opened the walt whitman book.
me: "ahem. let's see. aha! 'song of myself, 1 and 2'."
and i began, just stupid over-the-moon that my 5 year old was actually going to listen to some walt whitman. having been an english lit major and a lifelong bibliophile, i was nerding-out. my girl! she's going to be so smart and she's going to love this and all the while, i was trying to keep my cool and not disturb the course of whatever planets have aligned that created the vibes that had led to this giant pile of awesome. so.
"i celebrate myself, and sing myself,
and what I assume you shall assume,
for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
i loafe (f, that means relax. loafe means to relax) and invite my soul,
i lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
my tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,"
(holy cats, she is still listening! clearly she is brilliant. best day ever.)
"i, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
hoping to cease not till death."
and i paused for a minute, just to see if she had any questions or input, and inwardly high-fived myself, just ridiculously stoked that our little girl was DOWN WITH WHITMAN. deep breaths.
i continued: "creeds and schools in abeyance,
retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
i harbor for good or b---"
"MOM!! MOM! LOOK." her face was lit up. "LOOOOOK!"
i'd been so caught up in the moment, savoring each word and trying to fully soak in how precious this moment was, how truly monumental, that i hadn't noticed what she was doing. so i did, i looked. laying on her belly, f had pulled up her nightgown and hiked her cinderella panties as high up as they would go into a serious self-inflicted wedgie.
"MOM. MY BUTT. MY BUTT! BUTT BUTT! HA HA HA HA HA! MY BUTT, MOM!"
the "full-noon trill," indeed. more like the full-moon trill. pretty sure you could hear my bubble bursting for miles around. i cracked up, though. i couldn't help it. it was a pretty impressive wedgie.