Like so many children do, my boys love to hear me tell stories about them--things which happened when they were young(er than they are now). So tonight, while I waiting for Tobin to finish brushing his teeth and helping Shav get his pajamas on, I told them the following (true!) story.
Once upon a time, when Tobin was about a year and a half, he started crying a few hours after being put to bed for the night. Since he was such a great sleeper and rarely did that, I knew something must be wrong; and when I checked him, I discovered that he was wet--really wet. I picked him up and got ready to change his diaper and clothes; I took his pajamas off and started to take his diaper off, only... There was no diaper! I looked inside his pajamas, assuming it might have come off there--but no diaper. I checked all areas of his crib, thinking Tobin might have somehow taken it off--but no diaper. The simple fact was: there was no diaper! If my memory is correct, this happened in the period of time when Shav was a newborn; and with two little ones in the house (as well as two bigger ones), sleep deprivation was a fact of life. Apparently on this particular occasion, tired Jeff had gotten Tobin ready for bed, and he forgot one crucial step: the diaper. :) I don't think he--or I--ever made that mistake again! :)
As you can imagine, Tobin and Shav thought that was hilarious--the idea of Daddy forgetting to put a diaper on Tobin! After I read stories to them tonight, hugged and kissed them goodnight, and turned on a lullaby CD for them, I left their room, my mind spinning about other, shall we say, unique night occurrences. Like...
Back in the late summer of this past year, one night I went into Tobin and Shav's room like I often do before I go to bed. On that night, Jeff was already in bed, asleep (since it takes him approximately 1.72 seconds to fall asleep, and that's when he's having an attack of insomnia! seriously, the man is gifted at going to sleep!). ;-) One of their windows was slightly open; but since the air was on the cool side, I decided to close the window--the only problem being that that particular window sticks like crazy and is very difficult to close. It made a terrible screeching sound as I managed to nudge it shut a little; and about that time, Tobin stirred in his sleep and called out--not an unheard thing for him to do. The combination of those two noises, however, woke Jeff from his sleep; and he was instantly on the alert, thinking that an intruder had come into Tobin and Shav's room through the window. He RUSHED into their room, full-speed; and I, hearing him and knowing instantly what was going on, tried to alert him that it was just me! It all happened so fast that there wasn't time for my voice to penetrate his consciousness. As he raced into the room, he saw me and tried to stop, but he was literally going so fast that the only way he could stop his body before he tackled me was to apply his "brakes" and sit down HARD on the floor. I felt SO bad that I had scared him in that way, but I have to admit to being really grateful that he had taken the painful fall instead of me. True love is sacrificial, and he demonstrated it vividly that night. :)
The other remembrance that came to my mind tonight didn't make me laugh like the first two; as a matter of fact, it made me wince. I can't remember when exactly it happened--a couple of years ago by now, I think? We had been gone on a trip; and when we returned, some of Jeff's toiletries got unpacked and put on his nightstand. In the process of cleaning up one day, I put them away; and one particular item, I decided to put inside the nightstand. It was an oil for cleaning teeth; since Jeff really and truly hates toothpaste (it makes him want to throw up, but he does use it sometimes anyway) ;-), this particular oil (including a strong peppermint oil, I think?) was a good way for him to clean his teeth. I didn't think much about it when deciding where to put it; but since I knew he already had some toothpaste in the bathroom, I popped it into the nightstand and didn't give it another thought.
But then...(my insides are already aching as I write this)...one night he awoke, his eyes dry and scratchy. I was awake, sitting in the rocking chair nearby, typing on the computer, so I saw all this happen...although I wasn't paying enough attention to realize exactly what was going on until...but wait, let me tell you what happened. He groggily stretched his arm towards his nightstand, pulled open the drawer, reached inside, grabbed a small bottle, twisted off the lid, and put several drops in his eye. And then...(oh, this makes me sick to write)...he felt pain like he'd never felt before. Rather than the cool, soothing eye drops he was expecting, he had put that toothpaste oil in his eye! You see, in my efforts to be helpful and clean up from our trip, I had unwittingly placed that little bottle in the corner of the nightstand where he usually keeps a bottle of eye drops. I HAD NO IDEA. I nearly wanted to gouge my own eyes out when I saw him writhing in pain. There are really no words to describe how HORRIBLE I felt. Really. No. Words.
Besides how absolutely remorseful I felt, what I also remember is how free from anger and bitterness Jeff was. He forgave me immediately. Even while his physical body was still suffering from extreme pain, his spirit had already released me from the burden of wrong-doing. He realized it was simply an accident; and although he certainly wasn't laughing about the mix-up, he wasn't shooting fiery darts of "how could you's" at me. I was ready to shoot some darts at myself, but he wasn't.