A Torn Raincheck and Definition of Love

Last night, after working a thirteen-hour day, I tucked myself in bed between my lab/newfie and lab/pitbull. My 22-year-old daughter had been kind enough to look after my nine-year-old son for the evening and had just gone home. “Vinny” was showered and in his pajamas, but was suffering from a meltdown because I wouldn’t let him bring his computer game to bed. It was past his bed time.

“You said we could read a bedtime story,” he yelled.

“But you were playing Minecraft,” I said. “And now it’s time for bed. How about a raincheck?”

“What’s a raincheck?”

“It means I’ll make good on the deal tomorrow night.”

He came in my room and gave me a big hug. “OK.”

I started playing Words with Friends, so happy to see the day come to an end. Then I heard Vinny crying from his bedroom.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I’m sad.”

“Why?”

“Because I really want a bedtime story tonight.”

I sighed and thought of my father. Not once during my childhood did I ever get a bedtime story. My brother and I were told “go to bed.” We tucked our selves in. My father blared music, threw parties, had women over. Our childhood was chaotic at best. But how can I listen to those sniffles and not be moved?

“Pick out a book!”

Vinny brings in The Five Chinese Brothers, one of my all-time favorites.

I am not happy. But I tear up the raincheck and read him the book. After we finish, he kisses me. He says, Thank You. He tells me Good Night. I am too tired to play Words with Friends. I tell myself this is Love.

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