Best Part

Cait and I have a longstanding bedtime tradition. She snuggles in, I sit next to her, and we talk about the day. We always start with Best Part, Worst Part, and Don’t Tell. Best Part is for talking about the best part of our day. Likewise for Worst Part. Cait came up with the Don’t Tell some years back when she’d desperately wanted to tell me a secret. It has morphed into sharing with each other anything about our day that the other one would find surprising, or wouldn’t otherwise know about. (This category has been a godsend for helping me keep a pulse on how Cait is doing, and on what, if anything, is bothering her.) Other categories have come and gone over the years, but these three have always been the bedrock.

Also part of the tradition is that after we’re done with our categories, Cait tries to keep me engaged in conversation for as long as she can. She doesn’t want me to leave. In fact, her not-so-secret wish is to keep me long enough until I’m so tired that I fall asleep right there. On nights when I am really tired, I can find this drawn-out process exasperating. But I hang in there because I always want my daughter to want to talk to me. And, because on some nights, I am so richly rewarded for my patience that I can’t ever imagine stopping. Last night was one of those nights.

As usual, as soon as Cait feels my weight start to shift off the bed, she unloads the big guns, “Mom, Sarah and Emily (her two best friends), and I were talking–”

Okay, she’s got my attention. “Yeah,” I say casually, “about what?” I sit back down on the bed.

I’m thinking they’ve been talking about boys, or school, or another girl who has been a problem, or what they want to wear for Halloween, or the Millsbury computer game they all play–the usual 10 year old girl stuff.

Cait props herself up on her elbow. “Well, Sarah asked a question, and we all had different answers. I want to know what you would have said.”

“Okay,” I say, “Shoot. What’s the question?”

“If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Picking my jaw back up from the floor, I ask, “So what did you girls decide?”

“Well, Emily thinks it makes a sound. And Sarah hasn’t decided.”

“What do you think?” I ask

“I think it doesn’t make any sound.” She answers.

“Yeah, why?” I ask, still not believing that my daughter and her friends are discussing such weighty matters. And that my daughter had the philosophical interest and reasoning ability to think it through to the right answer.

“Because I think there can only be sound if there are ears to hear the sound,” she says. “And since no one is around, the tree falling wouldn’t make a sound. Unless, of course, if there were animals like rabbits or deer around because they have ears and they could hear it.”

She looks at me to see what I think of that.

What do I think of that? I think, of course, that my daughter is brilliant. I think I’m very thankful for friends like Sarah and Emily. I think I’m glad I stayed to hear this part of her day. I think bedtimes will stay the Best Part of my day for a long time to come.

10 thoughts on “Best Part”

  1. That is a great way to end the day. I am sure your daughter will appreciate the time she spent talking to you for a long time. It is a great way to keep communication open.

    Here via the carnival of family life.

  2. Holly Schwendiman

    There’s nothing quite as wonderful as those nighttime visits is there? I like the category of don’t tell, I’ll have to see if we can incorporate that one into our nighttime routine. I also was inspired to read a family share where each night the mom asked the siblings to name three nice things their siblings did for them that day. So many great ideas to incorporate!


  3. I absolutely loved this post! I love your best/worst/don’t tell. That’s really brilliant … speaking of brilliant, your daughter is too, what a thoughtful girl! :D Here from the CFL.:O)

  4. That’s a wonderful post. Bedtime is so special . . . even though the character of it changes over the years. Now the kids dogpile into the bed, bringing both dogs, and settle in to watch Letterman with me, much to their father’s chagrin (they are both over 6′ tall). It’s pretty funny, actually. I love it because its the only time we really get to snuggle. That’s what I miss most about having little ones . . .that bedtime snuggling and reading.

    Thanks for sharing your post in the Carnival of Family life which will be posted later today. Come on by and read all the other wonderful submissions!

  5. Hey, Missy!! –Everyone, I’d like to introduce you to my best friend and sister, Melissa.– How’d you find the site? Let me guess…. Mom. :) Thanks for the news. And thanks for visiting here. See you next week.
    love ya

  6. I keep forgetting to tell you, that Michelle (teresa’s oldest daughter) read your book and flipped over it. She said you inspired her to start a pet walking business and she calls it,
    Happy Tails.

    Isn’t that a hoot?

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