“Sweetheart,” I said last night while sitting in the dark on the edge of my son’s bed. “When I come in here to wake you in the morning, I notice that you’re all scrunched up in a little ball, like you are very tense.”

“That’s because the covers fall off,” he said. “And I do that to stay warm.”

“Well, look at your body now, you’re all crooked on the mattress. You look so uncomfortable. Will you try something for me?”


“Come on, get straight on your back in the center of the mattress and feel the bed supporting you.”

“Mom–” he protests.

“Come on, please. This will be cool. Just get straight. Now allow your body to sink into the bed, and just let your arms and legs be floppy.”

“Mom, you are treating me like a mutant.”

“Close your eyes, and let them sink into their sockets. Now take a deep breath from your belly. Push your belly up towards the ceiling. And when you exhale say “Haaaaaaaa.”


“Big HA. Do it again. Haaaaaaaaaaaaa. Let it all go, all the tension of the day–“


“One more time.”


“Isn’t that better?”

“I guess.”

“Goodnight. I love you, honey.”

“Night, Mommy.”

Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned bedtime prayer? Well, we say those on other nights. But I was an uptight twenty-six-year-old when I learned the difference between a relaxed muscle and a tense one. So last night, I tried to give my son the gift of greater peace and relaxation. I don’t want him to sleep bent out of shape. I want him happily centered within the whole darned bed.

Photo by Avinash Raj

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