Sometime in the inky blackness of night, I was jostled from my sound sleep by the sound of Miles’s voice over the monitor. “Mommy! Mickey fall!”
Okay, actually I was jostled from my slumber by Jaclyn’s follow-up. “Can you go get him?”
I stumbled out of bed and down the hall to Miles’s room, waking myself up enough along the way to manage to utter comprehensible language once I opened the door. “What’s wrong, buddy?”
Miles was sitting up in his bed, pointing over the edge. “Mickey fall on the floor!” he sobbed.
Sure enough, there on the floor was his beloved stuffed Mickey doll. I stepped over and kneeled down next to his bed, grabbing Mickey and returning him to Miles’s arms. “Here you go, buddy.”
“Nono,” Miles said. “And Donald!”
I looked back down at the floor, and yes, his Donald Duck has also fallen. I handed that one back to him too.
Now, I was pretty certain there weren’t any stuffed animals left on the floor at this point. “Well where did Goofy go?” I asked.
“Onna floor!” Miles bemoaned.
With Miles’s blanket bunched up around him, I had a different theory. I fished around under the blanket for a moment, then pulled out his Goofy doll.
“Goof-feeee,” Miles said, grinning.
He seized all three in his arms and fell back into his bed, and I, hoping he was again content, said goodnight and headed for the door. My head had barely grazed my pillow again before Miles called out again.
“A monster! Daddy! A monster!” he cried.
With a heavy sigh, I started back down the hall. Opening his door, I said, “Where’s the monster?”
“Ight there!” Miles said, pointing to a corner near the door. What he saw was the shadow of his toy box, its lid partially open, cast against the wall.
“Oh, that’s just your toy box,” I dismissed. Lifting and lowering the lid, I pointed to the shadow so Miles could make the association. “See, it’s okay!”
While he no longer feared the shadow, Miles still insisted I lay down in bed with him. While not the most comfortable arrangement, I couldn’t refuse, nor could I avoid closing my eyes within seconds. I must’ve had my eyes closed for half a minute when, suddenly, I felt the faintest touch on my cheek.
I opened my eyes and found that Miles had moved close to me and reached out his hand. He was just laying there, looking at me and smiling while he caressed my cheek.
I tend to go back and forth over whether I believe people are born inherently good or evil (and I challenge ANY parent of a toddler who would claim otherwise), but in moments like this it’s clear that Miles has a lot of love in him.