Bedtime. Favorite time of the day. That’s 2 1/2-year-old Avery and 6-year-old Joe. Each gets to choose a book from their library. Sometimes they’re classics. Sometimes they’re pure junk. (Joe is currently into Ninjago). Mostly it’s something in between. I don’t really care. I get my cuddles and then our daughter, Thomasin, AKA “Mommy,” or Franni, AKA, “Grandma,” or our son-in-law, Brody, AKA “Daddy” puts Avery down in her crib in her room.
Then I turn out the lights. Joe lays down on his tummy, and says, “Grandpa, tickle my back.” And I tickle his back just like my dad tickled mine at bedtime when I was a little boy. Then Joe says, “Grandpa, sing the songs you always sing.”
I’m not quite sure why he says that. I always sing the same songs I always sing. But I guess asking is part of the ritual. I open with “Brokedown Palace” by the Grateful Dead. Then “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor, and I close with “Ripple” also a Jerry Garcia tune. Joe’s usually out by then. But if he’s hanging on, I do an encore with Paul Simon’s “American Tune.”
When he’s down for the count, I get one or two last nuzzles and tip toe out of his room.