My four-year-old son is having a rough day. His cardboard box spaceship wing broke, and his valiant efforts to repair it with packing tape are foiled when I see the tangled wad of sticky waste and tell him I’ll help him finish in the morning. His eyes fill with tears and his voice gets squeaky, but he accepts the plan, and I carry him upstairs to wriggle into his red and grey striped pajamas.
I tell him to gather some books for me to read to him, and he raids my bookshelf and collects a haphazard pile of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, some Mark Twain, a Rachel Held Evans, and The Lies of Locke Lamora. As much as I’d love to be (or not to be) introducing him to Puck and Huck, I shelve the volumes and we opt instead for Little Hoot.
The bedside lamp spills just enough warm light by which to read; the rest of the room is in darkness. As I settle against the pillows he nestles his body into mine. We fit together perfectly. I wrap my arm around him like a mother hen shelters her chicks with her wing, and we read.
After Little Hoot I take him to his room, get him a glass of water, and tuck him in with an extra blanket because it’s cold tonight. I kiss his cheek, his head, his cheek again. I say, “I love you,” and I turn out the light.
Rachel Womelsduff Gough and her family ditched the city for a patch of earth in the Snoqualmie Valley. Cheered on by her husband and two blonde babes, Rachel learns by getting her hands dirty, whether it’s gardening, chicken farming, canning, neighboring, or adventuring with soulmates in wild places. She can’t live without books, coffee, and mountains.