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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The stars and the moon

Last night provided a nice opportunity to take my eyes (and mind) off of ‘our world’ here in the Middle East, and focus (for a change) on things far off in the distance, and also right under my nose.

During the last couple of years that we lived in Connecticut, our (big) kids became old enough to be woken up at night for a ‘once-a-year treat’: viewing the Leonid Meteor Shower.

Shortly before going to bed, I would drag our big wooden Adirondack chair onto the back deck, throw a half dozen blankets onto it, and then set my alarm for whatever pre-dawn hour the meteor shower was predicted to be at its peak.

When the clock radio dragged me out of my coma, I would go about boiling water, filling a big hot water bottle, brewing tea, and then pull my sleep-tousled wife and kids out onto the deck. We’d all sit smooshed on that chair, with the hot water bottle radiating between us, sharing a couple of mugs of tea, with the wool blankets piled high. We’d watch the celestial fireworks for 30 or 40 minutes (usually the time it took for the kids to doze off), and then I’d carry them back to their beds.

Over breakfast in the morning, neither kid had a clear recollection of the entire event, but both remembered snuggling under blankets…the smell of warm tea on the frigid night air…the occasional flash of a ‘shooting star’…The good stuff.

Last night there was a total lunar eclipse here in Israel. I didn’t tell the kids about it in advance (for fear they wouldn’t go to sleep), but once the earth’s shadow began to nibble away at the moon I went upstairs to wake them.

I’d forgotten how deeply they sleep…it took nearly five minutes of kisses and gentle nibbling to get either of them to respond. Ariella took me by surprise by groggily asking me, in Hebrew, whether she was late for school. It took her a few minutes to unconsciously lapse back into English, and I’m fairly certain she was unaware of the switch. I’ve suspected for a while that the kids have been dreaming (at least occasionally) in Hebrew…Neat!

Since the moon was clearly visible from Ariella’s bedroom window, we all sat on her bed, wrapped in a blanket and watched the moon being slowly consumed. After 10 minutes (and still nearly half an hour from totality), I realized that both kids were falling asleep on my lap (taking up MUCH more room than they used to), so Zahava and I tucked them back into their beds. Gilad has grown so much this year that Zahava couldn't lift him, so he was guided back to his room under his own power.

As usual, this morning the kids were a little fuzzy about the specifics of last night’s astronomy lesson, but they both remembered the good stuff; the kisses, the family snuggle, and the peek at the moon with a big bite taken out…Enough that there is some touchstone connecting their old life to the new. It also reassured us all (I’m not sure who needed it more - the kids or the grown-ups) that things are right with our world…A world where the stars and moon still give private performances while we snuggle together for warmth.

Posted by David Bogner on May 5, 2004 | Permalink

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Really nice... like the idea of those family snuggles... lucky kids and lucky parents.

Posted by: val | May 5, 2004 1:42:46 PM

The idea is nice...the reality is heaven. I hope they never consider themselves 'too old' to snuggle under a blanket with their parents once in a while.

Posted by: David | May 5, 2004 2:41:57 PM

I missed it by a day. What a wonderful thing to have done with your kids! It's the little things like that that kids remember about their childhood. Lucky kids!

Posted by: Chaya Eitan | May 7, 2004 5:45:35 PM

I was thinking, more like...Lucky me!

Posted by: David | May 7, 2004 6:22:38 PM

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