Like all multicellular organisms, my house has several parts that keep it running. The hum of the fridge; the glow of our lights; the infernal dripping of a leaky faucet or running toilet all indicate that there is life buzzing inside the modest structure. But if you listen closely in the midnight hour, you will harken unto sounds that are far more interesting than our appliances.
At 1 am, I was roused by my infant daughter’s mournful wail, beseeching me for food. The cry for milk generally comes at 3 am, so I was unprepared. Disoriented and confused, I staggered down the stairs to prepare her bottle. If you listen closely, you can hear my heavy footfall on our creaky floor boards. You almost hear my woe as I wearily scoop creamy powder into I bottle I hope is clean. 6 minutes later, she gazed up at me with gratitude, blinked a few times, and drifted back off to sleep. She purred and groaned in satisfaction, milk still lodged in her throat. Her slumbering father began to softly moan and gurgle in his sleep as well.
In the next room, I heard my son begin to bang his head up against his crib, as if attempting to beat the very sleep back into his subconsciousness.
Finally, it stops. In my mind’s eye I see a bloody pool where his forehead should be. But then I know he’s ok. The crib is made of wood paneling, not oak. I’m suddenly grateful for our poverty which prevents us from acquiring a more sturdy (and expensive) structure which might injure my son.
In the bunk bed next to him, my second born’s snores go on uninterrupted. Her sleep in so deep that Armageddon itself could wage on her Tinkerbell sheets and she’d be none the wiser until dawn.
Beneath her bunk, her elder sister mumbles almost unintelligibly. In the darkness make out phrases begging me to let her wear a dress to school the next morning and to remember to put the flashlight back in the sink.
With the humdrum of Wookiee melodies, head-banger beats, kindergarten poetry and snores serving as that night’s soundtrack, I will myself to go back to sleep and vow to laugh at Midnight’s Minstrels in the morning.