I remember for a good two years being awakened two, three, four times a night by little Isaac. He would come stand by my bed, or lay down on the floor in my bathroom, and when I would sleepily ask him why he was up, he would say, “I don’t know.” So I would carry him back to bed and kiss him and beg him not to wake daddy up again, and he would solemnly promise not to, and then just as I would drift back into desperate sleep there he would be again. I got a short story out of it, but this never seemed just compensation.
Now Isaac, who is five, shares a room with baby Isaiah, who is two. Isaiah has taken to crawling out of his bed as soon as we shut the door at night, and climbing into Isaac’s bed. Sometimes Isaac pushes him off, and Isaiah complains and whines and eventually goes to sleep on his pillow underneath his brother’s bed. Other times Isaac relents, and they are fine until later in the night, when Isaiah turns himself sideways. Then Isaac sleepily seeks out a parent for redress, or just gets in Isaiah’s abandoned bed.
It’s hard not to take some satisfaction in this. Which I suspect is how my mother must feel when she hears me talk about what it’s like to steer the pirate’s ship that is our grocery cart through the aisles at Wal-Mart, alternately slapping hands as they reach for candy, barking at the little ones for crawling beneath the cart so that I think they’ve gone missing, and wondering why, if Jesus is planning to come back in this lifetime, he doesn’t just do it right now, before we hit the cereal aisle and I lose the last shreds of my Christian patience.