8:48 pm. The boys' bedroom. Justin in his bed by the window. Evan generously sharing his bed with Corinne and I am squished between them to read Fudge-a-mania and cuddle before enforcing slumber.
Corinne burrows down into the nest of comforters and wriggles back up for air only to fidget her way into a sitting position and then down again.
"Be STILL! It's time to sleep!!"
"Tell me a story. Who was the best eater as a baby?"
"Well, Justin would eat anything..."
"Except mashed potatoes!" Justin pipes up.
"That's right. He would eat anything except mashed potatoes which he would spit right out only to open his mouth up to get another spoonful of them. And Evan was a good eater, too..."
"Who was the best sleeper?!?"
"Ah, well. Justin slept pretty normally like a newborn but he gave me the best birthday present when he was 6 weeks old and slept through the night for the first time. I do believe I cried with happiness... Evan was the WORST sleeper because he wouldn't let me put him down so I constantly walked around on tiptoes saying 'Shhhhh!' or had to carry a sleeping baby attached to me the whole time. But Corinne was the BEST sleeper. She slept through the night at 5 days old! As long as she was wrapped up like..."
"Like a taco?!?" Corinne interrupts.
"Yep. Like a taco. As long as she was wrapped up like a taco, she would sleep for the whole night in her crib!"
"Tell me a story about Daddy!"
"About Daddy? Ok. Do you know how we met?"
"No! NO! Tell us!"
"Well, I had recently graduated from high school and my best friend had just been hired at a small company nearby. She called me up and told me that I just HAD to go interview over there because there was this guy who was PERFECT for me..."
"It was DADDY!"
"Yes. It was Daddy. Anyway, I told her that I already had a boyfriend but I needed a job, so I interviewed for the job and Daddy HIRED me. I remember that he WAS cute with his purple silk shirt and hair in a curly ponytail*. But he was my boss and we were just friends. When he quit to go work at another company, I was all bummed out. So, when he came back for the company Christmas party to say hello I asked him to go out for pizza with me. We went to Giordano's for pizza..."
"Giordano's! We love that pizza!"
"I know. Anyway, we had Giordano's and his best friend came by to check me out and make sure I wasn't weird..."
"Yep. Uncle Dave came by. I guess he thought I wasn't TOO weird! Anyway, after Daddy and I finished hanging out and we were going back to the cars, I said 'Let's go out again' and he said 'Sure' and I said 'But this time, as a DATE' and he blushed and said 'Suuuure' and then? It was alllll downhill for him. He was hooked on your mama."
Much giggling and snorting at that thought...
"I'm serious! What's not to adore about ME?!?"
The hilarity continued for a bit. Things began to quiet down and Corinne began to wrestle with the blankets once more until Evan piped up AGAIN with,
"Tell me another story about you guys!"
"Ok. Have I ever told you about how Daddy proposed to Mommy?"
"Tell it! Tell it!"
"Weeeeellll...One day, I was napping on the couch...."
And on and on. The family stories that they know so well are what I want them to memorize. Knowing the history of our unit is just as important (if not more) as knowing when the Revolutionary war began or when the World Trade Center was attacked. These stories are the first patches in their quilts of life. They need to know that it's ok to marry the man you meet at 18 and it's ok if he proposes to you by poking you awake from a nap because he cannot contain the excitement until he has the money to do a big surprise. They need to know that no matter what, their family will be there to support them. We share a history. My stories are their stories. Their stories are a continuation of ours which are a continuation of our own parents' and so on into the infinite generations prior.
* Totally not-creepy, Random Fact about me: I still have that ponytail that he chopped off when he decided the whole rock-star thing wasn't going to pay the bills as fast as a corporate job would. It's upstairs in my keepsake box beside my lace wedding handkerchief, crumbling prom flowers and photo booth shots of me and my best friends from 20 years ago...
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