Good nights

In the movie The
Cider House Rules
, the character played by Michael Caine runs
an orphanage for boys. Every night, he says the same thing to the boys as they
go
to bed: "Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England."
The boys took comfort in it. It was something they could depend on.

Every night that I’ve been aware of my baby’s existence, I say to him, "Always
remember that I’m your daddy and I love you, and your Mama loves you,
and Jesus
loves
you
most
of
all."
I know his brain hasn’t grown the neurons necessary for processing language,
but I still like to talk to him and tell him about love. I plan to keep doing
it for many years, until he tells me to stop.

I mentioned this in a
previous post
, and Jason left
a comment saying he did the same thing with his sons. Last week, I was talking
to my Discovery Toys manager on the phone when she said, "Excuse me for a
minute." Then I heard her talking to her three-year-old daughter away from
the phone and saying, "Just remember Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, Katie
loves you, and Jesus loves you most of all. Now go let Daddy tuck you in."
I was flabbergasted. She told me the little girl can’t go to sleep unless she
hears one of her parents say those words. It’s important to her to know she’s
loved, and it’s important to the parents as well.

I’ve never met Jason in
real life, and I think it’s safe to he’s never met my DT manager. So we’re
three
people
who
independently
came up with exactly the same thing to say to our kids. I don’t know if
there are any conclusions to be drawn from that. I do wonder what other (sweet)
things parents say to their children when putting them to bed.

4 thoughts on “Good nights

  1. I like that from Cider House Rules too, I have always remembered it. The family that I used to nanny for would say “I love you to the moon and back” to their kids. With my kids we say “ear love” and he rubs my ear, not as poetic but like you said, it is important to start these traditions with our children :)

    This is the first time I have posted it to your blog, it is great and a very encouraging premise. Thanks for letting men know that all husbands don’t think their wives are nagging old hags :)

  2. Before bed, I always said, “I have a secret!” Then I would whisper in the child’s ear, “Mommy loves Jonathan,” (insert whatever name is appropriate). At one point, they would get so excited that they just trembled, and blurted out, “I love this secret!” Sometimes they said, “I have a secret, too!” and then they would whisper in my ear, “Jonathan loves Mommy.” It’s really neat when they figure out how to turn it around.

    I also made a habit of singing, last hing at night, the benediction from Michael Card’s “Sleep Sound in Jesus,” (I see that you registered for that–great choice). It goes, “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace forever. The Lord be gracious to you, the Lord turn His face toward you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace forever.”

    Now they are mostly teenagers and the youngest is ten. He still insists on his nightly Bible reading with me, and butterfly kisses (eyelashes fluttered against his cheek). Last night he was naughty during the Bible reading and had big fight with his brother. I could get nowhere with either of them, so I asked their dad to take over their bedtime. At 1:30 a.m. the ten-year-old came into our bedroom and said, “Mom, I just can’t sleep.” So I had to tuck him tenderly into his bed and kiss his cheek, and then he knew I still loved him and drifted off.

    It’s precious to remember the days when they were little. Thanks for spurring the memories.

  3. My son used to enjoy songs and stories about children from other lands. He asked for a children’s version of Song of Hiawatha the most. He must have heard along the way about “Eskimo kisses” (rubbing noses together) from somewhere. He wanted to rub noses with me at bedtime and he called it ‘nosies.’