Year 4, Day 126

When Miles asks for bedtime stories, his requests tend to be pretty specific. “Tell me a story about the PJ Masks and Romeo and Romeo steals all the library books,” he might say, referring to a specific episode of PJ Masks and expecting me to accurately recount the adventure in question. It can be a nerve-wracking experience.

This week, however, Miles’s presented a prompt that left a bit more room for wholesale improvisation. “Tell me a story of Miles going to the moon.”

The story began with an invitation from Jeff Bezos — he had called Miles to invite him on his space flight. The offer was simply too good to refuse, and Miles soon found himself blasting towards the stars. Once they were floating above the Earth, Bezos revealed that their journey was actually bound for the moon.

“Wait,” Miles interrupted. “And Mommy and Daddy come too.”

And so that’s when Bezos revealed that Jaclyn and I were also on the spaceship and, surprise!, we were all going to the moon. The ship landed on the moon and we all put on space suits before bounding out onto the lunar surface.

In the story, Miles said, “Wow! The moon!”

“The moon!” Daddy said.

Jaclyn, meanwhile, was having some problems, slowly stumbling around in her bulky space gear. “Ah!” she shouted. “Brian! Ahhh! I can’t stand up! Ahhh!” And she fell over.

At this, Miles started cracking up. I knew I had struck gold.

For the rest of the story, Miles and I navigated the moon deftly, while Jaclyn fully embodied her real-world klutziness. Miles laughed harder and harder every time she tripped or bumped into something.

As the story ended and everyone was coming home, Miles spoke up. “No,” he said. “They have to live on the moon now.”

So Jeff Bezos presented the family with a house on the moon. Everyone was excited…except Jaclyn. Miles cracked up again.

The next night, Miles requested another story about us in outer space, this time an adventure to the sun. Knowing that any good sequel doubles down on the elements that made the first installment work. Much of the story involved Jaclyn flailing about during a spacewalk, complaining about how hot the sun was, and smacking into the side of the spaceship as she tried to get back aboard. Each time, Miles started guffawing.

Look, I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve incorporated Jaclyn’s clumsiness into Miles’s bedtime stories, but you gotta know your audience and give them what they want.

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