With a Hug and Almost Always with a Laugh

One of the things that I love the most about hosting Small Moments Mondays, is the reminder that I get each week that we are all more alike than we are different.  Whether we’re male or female, serious or humorous, young or old, we all have moments in our lives that are small and beautiful.  We all know what it’s like to find such tremendous joy in those smallest of moments.

I stumbled across Alexander Dope on Twitter months ago.  I found him to be witty, intelligent, kind, and engaging.  Over the months, he has made me laugh, sigh, think, and blush.  And he’s made me blush plenty.

Thank you for coming by and sharing your story with us, Mr. Dope.  You are amazing.

With a Hug and Almost Always with a Laugh –by Alexander Dope

I couldn’t have been more surprised several weeks ago when Nichole contacted me out of the blue about participating in her Small Moments Monday guest blogger series. After all, I’m anonymous, male, and don’t even have a proper blog — not exactly in keeping with the qualifications of the blogging All-Stars who have contributed so far. And, oh yeah, there’s the matter of my Twitter feed, which is a non-stop source source of tomfoolery and profanity. I was afraid to ask “why me?”, but whatever crazy hunch brought me here, I have to offer Nichole my heartfelt thanks for the opportunity and the push I needed to try stringing together more than 140 characters at a time.

For the past three and half years my family has experienced so many big moments that there has been precious little space to observe, let alone savor, the small moments that are supposed to provide life with its richness. First we moved a thousand miles away to care for my wife’s ill parents in our home and then we endured a brutal fourteen months when we said good bye to three of the kids’ four grandparents.

As difficult as everything was for my wife and I, the hardest thing to accept was that we were unable provide our kids with anywhere near all of the time, attention and love that we knew they required. But as chaotic as every day was, there was one small chunk of time, a ritual that we managed to salvage, that gave me a chance to completely focus on the kids no matter what kind of (often literal) insanity the day had presented — no matter what, we always ended the day with a book or a story.

As important as it was for the kids to have some undivided attention every day, it was just as valuable for me. Quite often, story time would provide me with the day’s only smile or laugh or happy thought. Through the stress and grief and exhaustion, the bed time routine was a life line keeping me connected with the kids.

Even now, as our lives slowly get back to “normal”, the kids’ bed time remains my favorite part of the day. I love how my daughter presents her vision of the future of Cinderella, or Ariel, or Jasmine after the story has ended. I’m also relieved that she doesn’t mind (or notice) that I take liberties with the narrative and replace references to the princesses’ beauty with testaments to their independence and their love of math and science.

My son still gives me notes on my voice acting — when he was three the problem was not making his stuffed puppy believable enough and now it’s butchering Admiral Ackbar’s Calamarian rasp. I do sometimes get kudos, though — my C3PO and Darth Vader in particular always get two thumb up. And junior’s mind was blown the other night when my Sulu voice sounded “JUST LIKE George Takei” (he’s never seen the original Star Trek, but he somehow knows that George Takei provides a voice in one of the cartoons he watches).

Whether praise or pan, we can always end the day with a hug and almost always with a laugh. No matter how poorly either one of us may have behaved during the day, story time provides a chance to put the trouble behind us, make our peace, and focus on how much better the beginning of the next day can be. Bed time remains a reliable source of small, happy moments — no matter how big and bad the moments of the rest of day have been.

Want more?  You can find him on Twitter, where his handle is @AlexanderDope

14 comments

  1. TamingInsanity

    It's true. Routine gets a bad rap, but it's a beautiful small thing that keeps us all together.

  2. I lived for those times. There is deep comfort in rituals.

    That's why we keep doing them.

    Lovely post. Thank you.

    Following you on Twitter now.

  3. @DunbarPrime twitter.com/DunbarPrime

    I'm the primary book reader in our house as well, and I LOVE story time! I feel guilty and sad on those extra hectic days where we've stayed out too late and our oldest has school in the morning, and therefore need to skip our standard story time and instead settle for a single, quick book.

    My kids have yet to criticize my voice acting, but we have nigh few books based on movies or cartoons, so my ego is spared due to them lacking any frame of reference.

    Thanks for the great post Alexander and I can wait for more!

  4. I like storytime best too. I try to read to the kids in the late afternoon too. It gives us a cool down before dinner.

  5. ksluiter

    I love story time too! Eddie is just learning what books are and he likes to turn the pages! So great!

  6. that was a really sweet story. makes me miss story time with my own dad. *sniff*

    also? loved reading this! I love your tweets, Alexander Dope, but I enjoyed reading a different side of you. :D

  7. Roxane roxanesdays.com

    My favorite part is watching them doze and yawn and knowing that the last thing they hear before they drift off is my voice.

    Nice to see more than 140 from you, Mr. Dope!

  8. laurenne humansarefunny.com

    So beautiful!
    This was my ritual as a kid as well! And I grew up to love stories and write them for a living! And now, when I'm lonely or going on a long trip, my mom sends me a tape of her telling me a story. It helps to calm me or get to bed.

    I suggest you secretly record this ritual! Every night for a year. And then give them to your daughter and son on their 30th birthdays when they can appreciate them. It will be something they can have of you for the rest of their lives!

  9. kris prettyalltrue.com

    Both of my daughters always loved story-time before bed. My absolute favorite part of the day with them when they were younger. We all reveled in the ritual of the book selection, the reading, the sharing.

    Happy sighs.

    Thank you.

  10. 2ndChanceMoon

    Bedtime is a calm, relaxing, connecting time even with my older kids.

  11. Maryline francoamericandream.com

    Wait, after all that struggle to feed, bathe and dress a kiddo for bed, I also need to read him a story? hmm. At what age do they lay down quietly again?
    Sorry but in my house, the crib is to sleep so I leave the room very promptly after his feet've hit the mattress. And outside the crib? I'm lucky if I can get him to stay in the same room for 20 seconds.
    Books on tapes for babies maybe?

    All right, all jokes aside — I can't wait to have a bedtime ritual just like yours. The heroes will also be math champions, and also, triathletes.

    Sorry to hear about the grieving roughness. Take care and hope you start your very own blog soon…

  12. Natalie mommyofamonster.com

    Story time is one of my favorite parts of the day…bedtime in general is for that matter because it's all about quiet snuggling and love. This is a beautifully written post, and I want to thank Nichole for introducing me to you here and on Twitter :)

  13. susie newdaynewlesson.com

    That's really lovely.

  14. Sherri oldtweener.blogspot.com/

    I love the bedtime routines, especially with the little ones…brings everyone's day to a nicer close, no matter how it went.

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