sMy son and I have found a nighttime routine that works for us, though others may disapprove. He's not asleep by 8 or even 9 o'clock. It's not his fault that he inherited from both parents a circadian rhythm that prefers to live at night, when our bodies and our minds are most alive. But I realize that we live in a world with a different clock so we climb into bed and read stories at about 10pm in our compromise with the the rest of society's schedule. After reading to him for about 20-30 minutes, he'll read to himself and I get to read my book. We love this time, and he makes sure that I have my book for myself before we lay down because he prefers me to have a book instead of a phone or a computer, and I am grateful that he appreciates the difference.
Lately, we've been lost in a world of fairy tales. He quietly reads through my childhood copies of Hansel and Gretel and Jack and the Beanstalk as I learn about a Russian fairy tale reading Eowyn Ivey's brilliant novel, The Snow Child. She mixes the fairy tale of an older childless couple that builds a child from snow, which then comes to life, with the rich details of the glorious and brutal realities of homestead living in the Alaskan wilderness in the early 20th century. She describes longing, love, death, desperation and cold in ways that are tangible. I've never been as isolated or cold as these characters, but I feel like I have. I miss it now that I'm done with the book. I want to return to this world where snow is both magical and harsh, where it brings both life and death, where snow can also be the center of so much warmth that winter becomes undeniably home.