Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.
I have always loved summer. Sun, warm temperatures and an excuse to eat ice cream daily … it just doesn't get much better than that.
When I became a mother, the season became even more enjoyable. Experiencing all the joys of summer with my children made me feel like a kid again myself. Long days of play turned into nights of happy exhaustion as crickets lulled us all to sleep.
That was, however, until one particular day a few weeks ago.
It was a typical summer day for our family. We went to the park, made dinner on the grill and let watermelon juice drip down our chins for dessert. Afterward, we took a long walk around our neighborhood, stopping at a pond to marvel at frogs and fish. When we arrived home, it was time for baths and pajamas. As I escorted my sons to bed, my eldest looked at me in surprise.
“Why are we going to bed?” he asked me with genuine confusion.
“Because it's bedtime,” I responded.
“It's not bedtime,” he said. “It's too light outside. I can't go to sleep when it's daytime.”
I looked around the room. I had to admit, it was pretty bright in there. So I conceded.
“All right,” I said. “You can stay up for a little while.”
We all marched downstairs. When my husband saw that the kids were returning for an encore, he pulled me aside.
“Why are they still up?” he asked.
“It looks like midday in their room,” I told him. “They can't sleep. It's just for tonight,” I added. “Tomorrow, it's right back to the schedule.”
Unfortunately, the next night brought the same dilemma.
“I can not sleep when it's this bright outside!” my son exclaimed as I tucked him in bed.
I looked over my shoulder at my husband, who was watching from the doorway. He raised his eyebrows and shrugged as if to say, “I told you!” I furrowed my brows and
turned back to my son.
“It's summer,” I told him. “The sun stays up later, but you still have to go to bed on time. Period.”
I gave him a firm look and left the room. As I closed the door, I gave my husband a smug smile.
“See? No problem.”
He still looked skeptical, but followed me downstairs without saying a word. We had just sat down to relax when we heard it: the unmistakable sound of two boys jumping on their beds. We both ran upstairs.
“Can't sleep, can't sleep, can't sleep,” our son said between jumps. I hung my head. It was going to be a long night.
After seven trips upstairs to put our kids back in bed, we were finally rewarded with silence. I peeked into their room and sighed with relief to see they were asleep. Of course, the sun had also set; I wasn't sure if it was our persistence or the absence of light that had persuaded them to give in. I closed the door, went back downstairs and collapsed in a chair.
“Still love summer?” my husband asked me with a tired grin.
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “But how do you feel about going out tomorrow to buy some dark curtains for those windows?”
“I think it's a good plan,” he said.
And then two exhausted parents went upstairs and fell fast asleep, as crickets sang softly through the window.