Beautiful Boy.

Close your eyes, have no fear
the monster’s gone; he’s on the run and your daddy’s here
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.
— John Lennon, “Beautiful Boy”

A ritual has emerged in our household, and it is one that I, personally, am quite fond of.

Every night when it is time for Liam to go to bed (with the exception of the occasional game night, of course), he reaches for me — his Papa. Neither The Reader nor I know what it is that I do differently, but it has become part of our bedtime canon. Liam always wants me to be the one to put him to bed — and it absolutely melts my heart every time.

Every. Single. Time.

He curls into my arms and holds on tight. I turn on his white noise machine (it’s fantastic; I highly recommend purchasing one) and his CD player (complete with Papa-produced mixtape designed solely for the purpose of lulling our little guy to sleep), then I carry him over to the crib. There, we rock gently side to side as “Silver Wings” by Thrice plays in the background.

Sometimes, we whisper to each other. Other times, we just sway in silence. It depends on the evening’s events, I suppose. Sometimes, our boy is just too tired even to talk, as hard as that may be to believe.

When it’s time to go down, I give him his stuffed rabbit, whom he lovingly refers to as “Pippy.” His bear (known as “Bears” — creative, I know) awaits them in the crib. Though he has to have both, he can’t lay his head down on my shoulder if he’s carrying both. So Bears gets to wait patiently for his embrace.

[A note about Bears: he was originally my teddy bear growing up. I love that Liam is just as attached to him as I was.]

Sometime during the second song on the mix (“Love Song Requiem” by Trading Yesterday), I lay Liam down in his crib, and he tucks Pippy under one arm and Bears under the other, usually pulling his knees up to his chest so that he sleeps in that oh-so-adorable butt-in-the-air pose that so many young children seem to prefer. I cover him up with his blanket and sneak out of the room, shutting the door carefully without making any noise.

I love every single minute of it. I don’t get to be home as often as I would like, so having this time with him every night is exactly what I need. It’s nice to feel special in the heart of your little boy.

“Life is just what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

That is certainly true for you, little Liam Eliot. And I wouldn’t change a thing. You are an amazing little man, and I am oh so glad that you are mine.

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About [rlh]

Ryan L. Haddock is an aspiring writer, emphasis on the "aspiring." He mostly writes short stories, but that is only because he doesn't seem to have the attention span necessary to write a novel. At least, not yet. He is also a husband and a father . . . yet he is still struggling valiantly against the notion that he has to grow up. View all posts by [rlh]

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