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    Tucking You In At Night

    Some of my fondest memories of my father are when he would tuck my twin brother Mike and I into bed every night. There was a silly ritual to it that still makes me smile. I've repeated this ritual with my nephews and nieces, as well as some of my friend's kids. It's a crowd pleaser.

    In some ways, mom and dad switched stereotypical emotional roles in my family. Dad was emotional, affectionate, demonstrative, sensitive, and outwardly very loving. Mom was more stoic, somewhat detached, and distant. She showed her love by cooking great meals and other subtle ways. As a kid, I couldn't articulate that dynamic, but I was sure as shit aware of it. 

    Living with that uncommon parental paradigm molded me in many ways. Having a father like mine, I learned that it was okay for a man to wear his heart on his sleeve. It resonated with me quite powerfully, because I was a very sensitive kid. Being a lot like my father already, especially emotionally, the qualities we both shared became more developed in me. I idolized my father growing up. He was loved by so many. He was successful, articulate, intelligent, and in some ways larger than life. My dad was unique, a one of a kind individual. He was a witches brew of old world values and non-conformity. Simply put, My Dad was a true Fuckin' Character. Guess my apple don't fall far from that tree.

    Our nightly ritual offered a rare stability: My brother and I would kiss mom good night and then see dad, who was usually in the family room watching some television; or in his study working, or just listening to music.

    After saying good night to dad, Mike and I would scurry up the stairs, and get into our matching pajamas (we're twins, and suffered from the common malady of our parents buying us matching clothing until we, thirteen?). Then we would hop into bed and cover ourselves; sometimes with our head exposed, sometimes completely covered. And then we waited.....until we heard our dad coming up the steps. Sometimes he would start saying something, sometimes not. Dear Old Dad was very unpredictable, in a lot of ways. 

    My bed was closest to the door, but that didn't mean he always came to me first. Like a master showman, he surprised his audience by switching up his act often.

    Whichever one of us he approached, the routine was always similar. First, dad would lean over us, with his head so close you could hear and feel his breathing, and just stare. If my head was uncovered, I would try and open my eyes, just a little, to see his voluminous face, with a prominent nose, just inches from my face. This was not a good strategy for defending his assault. The sight of my loving father's face so close to me is such a sight that it is still etched so deep into my mind that, even if I have my eyes wide open, I can still picture it right in front of me as if it were happening now. 

    Then dad would start talking, saying ridiculous things calculated to make us laugh. I would hold out as long as I could, and then, inevitably, break into laughter and be on the receiving end of tickling, silly verbiage, and a whole lotta love. The other one of us who heard this did all he could not to laugh, but such attempts at restraint were doomed. 

    I miss those moments so much these days. That exchange goes a long way in explaining why I love to share the bed with someone I love. The moments before sleep, next to another sacred soul, are precious to me. I want to go to bed with someone feeling loved, feeling connected, feeling safe, feeling all we have to do is be with each other. And I want her to feel the same thing. 

    Lover's everywhere: be it moms, dads, siblings, aunts, uncles, lovers, even one night stands: give the one laying next to you a sacred container for beautiful, loving, sleep. Let them know you love them, however that manifests itself in the relationship. Hold them, kiss them, play games with them, make love to them, whatever it takes. Going to bed in the arms of another, be it virtual arms or physical arms, demonstrates a level of love and connection that can not be replicated in any other circumstance. I don't care how long you've been together, how long you've known each other, or what the relationship is. Make it happen.

    Falling asleep with someone you love is like falling in love, every night. Don't squander this precious opportunity to Make A Moment. 


    © 2017 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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