Hey buddy boy-
You sleepwalked for the first time last night.
I’m kind of a kook about you getting enough sleep so I was surprised when you threw open your door last night and walked halfway down the hallway an hour after bedtime. Then, you just stood there and looked at us. When I asked you what you were doing, you mumbled, “Hmmpphhhsmshshs chicken gum”. Alex said, “Huh?” and then you mumbled again and ended with “chicken gum”. Then you went, “Can I….uh…..ummm……go up?” Alex started to freak out a bit because he didn’t know what you were doing, but I calmly said, “No, buddy. You have to go back to bed.” You shrugged your shoulders and shuffled back to bed.
So, this morning, when I went to wake you up, you had no recollection of chicken gum. You wanted me to tell the story three or four times before you left for school. You cackled; you re-enacted it; we all were amazed that you didn’t remember anything. You even mumbled “chicken gum” as I was hugging you goodbye.
It’s a great story. And it’s ours.
You see, I’m a storyteller by nature. I love collecting stories and storing them away for when I need a funny tidbit. I have no problem recalling other people’s stories- like the guy who once usurped someone’s funeral procession accidentally and had to pull some fancy stunt driving to lose the last half of the procession that was following him. Or my friend who fell ill during a 1st grade sub job, threw up in the tiny toilet, and then sat in a tiny chair and rested her head on a tiny table while the tiny children looked on with abject horror. Or my friend whose grandmother got stuck to the refrigerator when she wore one of those magnetic bracelets.
I love telling stories. When you came home, we both landed in the middle of the other persons’ story. You didn’t know all my stories; I didn’t know all of yours. So we would tell each other our stories, but we had very few stories that we could share, very little that was ours.
You’ve now been a part of our family for ten months. Ten whole months of living our lives together. You know what? We’ve built a pretty impressive library of stories that we share together now.
Like your chicken gum sleepwalking story.
Or how we once let you stay up really late two nights in a row and you tried to eat a BBQ sandwich but you kept falling asleep mid-chew.
Or how you and I tripped over each other loudly as we walked into your extremely calm, quiet doctor’s office and everyone stared at us like we were nuts. Seriously, if it had been a cartoon, we would have been in one of those dust cloud things where all you can see are feet and hands spinning and twirling. I giggled about it for a full hour afterwards.
Or, how on your very first April Fool’s Day with us, Alex played a joke on me that ended up in a stream of water shooting across our kitchen, dousing our laptop, your finished homework, and about ten feet of carpet. Yes, dear one, there was laugh-crying. I know you’ll remember that, because you said, “Oh, brother. She’s crying!”
I never want you to forget the stories that happened before us. Those are part of you. They help make you who you are.
But these stories, these new stories, are binding us together. This shared history weaves the frayed edges of our lives together. These stories are treasures.
You are too.
(You can read more Dear Son letters by clicking here.)