Bedtime was strictly enforced when I was a little girl. By early evening my little sister and I were tucked in for the night. She fell asleep quickly, but for me it was only the beginning of the night watch.
It was a time when I dreamed dreams and pretended I was the latest heroine in my little world. Sometimes I was Pollyanna; others a princess living in a magical land; Shirley Temple captured my imagination for a long time and when the Mouseketeers made their debut, I longed to be just like Annette.
There were other, darker things that sometimes kept me company in my night watches. Stories of kidnapped children, stolen from their beds in the middle of the night somehow made their way into my consciousness. Ever the cautious one, I would take a flying leap into bed, lean over the edge and then fearfully lift the edge of my bedspread to make sure all was well.
I often managed to stay awake until my parents turned off the television and made their way to their bedroom. It was right next to ours. I waited until they turned off the lights and then snuggled deep under the covers. I knew what was coming next - the one thing that dispelled all the fears and worries. The gentle murmur of voices.
I never could make out the words, but I didn't really want to. I just wanted to know they were there - together. I imagined them in the big double bed talking about grown-up Mom and Dad things. My world felt warm and safe, and I slept.
They celebrated sixty-six years of shared conversation and deep abiding love this past January. That love has comforted and blessed our family in ways that cannot be measured. I still, all these years later, find such warmth and safety in the sound of their voices.
linking to the High Calling series on marriage at Jennifer's blog.