a bedtime ritual

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“Can we do Whooshings tonight Dad”? she asked. “Sure,”–“Where do you want to do em”? I replied. My youngest would usually pick our bed. Sometimes I’d warn her, “If you pick our bed they’re gonna be really BIG Whooshings”! “OK”! she’d say scared and excited.

The exact definition for Whooshings might not appear in the Webster’s dictionary. The exact meaning of the word Whooshing as defined in our house is this: To throw or be thrown, the act of tossing a person in or on a specific target or bed from a significant distance, securing a safe landing. The name was actually invented by chance.

I’m sure the game’s origin could be traced back to me tossing her sisters into swimming pools. I’d hold them like a cradle, their back resting on my curled left arm with the back of their upper legs in my curled right arm. I’d stand back from the bed and with each count of a number I’d swing her left toward the bed stopping and rocking back toward the right readying them for the next number.

It went something like this, a big swing to the left with a loud audible “ONE”! Back to the right then a big swing back to the left and another loud “TWO”! One last move hard and fast to the right shifting quickly back to the left with an even louder “THREE”!!! As my little one would sail through the air flying toward the bed I’d yell, “Whoosh”!!! Hence, her made-up title of “Whooshings.”

After the first one, she’d shout “AGAIN-DAD-AGAIN”!!! “One-Two-Three”!!! And it would start all again. After 5 or 6 times, I’d have to calm the Whooshing Monster and ready her for bed. That was one of our rituals, we had another bedtime ritual that our youngest opted for sometimes.

This ritual was titled, “The Wrong Bed,” of course named by our little game-name-giver. It started by chance, I’d pick her up in that same cradle and as I walked toward her room I’d stop and set her in the wrong bed. In the beginning, it was usually her sister’s beds.

I’d play the part of the sincere dad, “OK Gurmy Girl, there you go, sleep tight, I love you, OK then”–“Dad”! Was her next line in the ritual cutting me off. “Yeah Babe.” Was my line, her next line was improvised, it went something like this, “Dad, this isn’t my bed”! I’d say cleverly with shock in my voice, “What”?! -“Are you sure”? And onto more improvised dialogue.

It got to the point when I’d pick her up from the first spot I’d lay her on other things– that was the fun of the game for her, then of course to tell me it wasn’t her bed with a sweet smile…

My little one got put to bed on just about everything in the house over the years. The breakfast table, dining table, kitchen countertop, bath countertop, coffee tables, my desk, even a few pinball machines.

Whatever the bedtime ritual, it always wound up in her bed and a prayer, me usually first then her. It always ended with a good night, “I love you” and an “I love you too.”

Something we were talking about made my little one think of the old rituals last night. She asked me, “Remember Whooshings Dad”? I laughed and said, “Of course I do” — “Do you remember, “The Wrong Bed”? I replied. “She laughed and answered, ” Yeah” —  “That was fun”!

A while later she announced she was going to shower, a little bit after that she came back in to say good night…

The days of Whooshings and The Wrong Bed are in the ever distancing past. I know from our older girls that our little one is right around the corner from being gone…

No more good nights or good mornings…

There were difficulties, I can’t say it was all perfect, but even in the discipline for everyone involved in different ways there was joy, in the end there is honor and the sweetest of memories.

Most of us with short memories can relate to the old adage, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

I can envision someday my grandkids and great grandkids asking their mothers, “Mommy, can we do Whooshings”?

My girls smiling at their pride and joy’s, sometimes with their eyes swelling with tears…

Remembering us…

They too will take them in their arms and form a gentle cradle as they begin to count, One!- Two!- Three!!!

They too will have to practice letting their babies go and trusting they have set them on course for a safe landing…