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.