The light flicked on again. I stop and stare at the shining coming through the bottom of the door.
“How can he still be awake?” I ask my husband.
“He’s going to be exhausted tomorrow,” he says.
I take a deep breath.
“My turn to check this time.” I set my laptop on the couch.
Padding across the floor, I gently push open our son’s door. I see the lamp is on. There are toys strewn across the floor. That’s when I notice him.
He’s sitting on his bed wearing a hard hat, boots, and a superhero cape tied around his neck, meticulously lining up dinosaurs on a pillow.
“I thought you were supposed to be sleeping?” I ask.
“I wanted to build first.”
I sit down next to him. “It’s time for bed. You have to get up for school tomorrow.” I carefully slip the hard hat from his head and tug each boot from his little feet.
“I don’t want to sleep,” he whimpers.
“How come?” I ask gathering each brontosaurus and tossing them in a bucket.
“I’m scared. There are monsters in my room. It’s too dark.” Yawning, he crawls into my lap.
After checking under the bed, in the closet, and in his drawers, I confirmed the expected. There are no monsters in his room. Calling dad for backup reassurance, he does a quick sweep of the room and agrees there are no one-eyed furry creatures lurking in the dark.
With another kiss and hug, we flick the light.
“Time to sleep.” I close the door behind me.
Getting back to my cozy spot on the couch, I park my tired body. What’s on Netflix? Flipping through the channels for a new binge series, I hear a car horn. Ignoring it, I keep searching.
A police siren? I glance back at my son’s door. Sure enough, he’s awake again.
I peek in his room.
“We just checked for monsters, and there is nothing in here. Lights out.”
He looks at me. A slight smirk is forming on his face. For some reason, I’m starting to think I’m being tricked.
“I have to go to the bathroom.” He’s squirming around in his bed. I send him the Mama Bear stare.
“Hurry up and go.” Picking up his little body and walking to the bathroom he starts sharing a friendship problem at school.
“I’m sorry those boys were running away from you on the playground. Remember, you want to play with friends that make you feel good. If they hurt your feelings, how about finding a new friend to play with?”
With a nod of his head and smile on his face, I’m feeling confident we’re both going to finally get some rest.
Again, lights out.
Lingering outside his door, I take a deep breath.
Silent. I return to the couch and bury myself in the cushions. It’s late. There’s no time for an episode of anything.
My eyes start to feel heavy. I drift off to sleep.
Suddenly, I sit up and look around. Where’s my husband? Maybe he went to bed. I clumsily make my way to our bedroom fumbling for the lamp.
Only the cat lay curled up on the bed.
I poke my head in our son’s room.
Curled up under his covers are my three-year-old and my husband. Both crammed into the toddler bed. I smile and for the last time, turn off the light.