Our Favorite Bedtime Ritual:: The Story of Our Day

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The first time I told this story, my son was 2 years old.

We had had a long day. I was pregnant with my daughter. I was hot. And tired. My son had had one of those classic toddler days filled with boundless energy accompanied by several crying jags. My husband was working late. By the time I was toweling off my son after bathtime, I was simply done. I couldn’t get that child into his crib fast enough. I read him his stories, sang him a quick song and readied myself for a quick escape back downstairs when I heard his sweet voice ask, “Mama, tell about our day.”

I sighed. This was a new request. And I wasn’t in the mood to recap our day. It had been so difficult. But with the end in sight, my heart melted a bit at the chance to end our day together on a good note. And so I began.

I told him the story of our day. I decided to leave out all the struggles, laughing to myself that I might not have much left to tell. But as I began to recount our day, I was surprised by all the goodness that had been there, hidden in the simple details of our day – what we had had for breakfast, how the mailman had told my son what a big boy he was, the stickers he had gotten at the library. By the end of my tale, my breathing was calm. My son was smiling, his eyes drowsy. Despite how hard the day had seemed in all those tiring moments I had been focusing on just a few minutes ago, telling the story of our day had reminded me that it hadn’t actually been all bad at all.

It’s been over two years and my husband and I have told our son the story of our day at bedtime every night since. Sometimes we’re recounting epic days at amusement parks or local farms. Sometimes the story has simpler details of planting flowers, saying hi to our neighbors, visiting with my children’s grandparents. Now that he’s in preschool a few mornings a week, I have to leave part of the story blank, but much to my delight, my son usually graces me with some beautiful details about his classroom adventures I may not have received otherwise. And still, on our roughest of days, when I feel like nothing has gone right for any of us, the story of our day is there with reminders that there are always, always, pieces of our day that have been good and important and special.

I can’t think of a better way to end each day.

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Elizabeth Bettencourt holds a BFA in Theatre and a BS in Secondary English Education from the University of Rhode Island, a Masters in Reading & Literacy from Endicott College, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home parent full time, Liz taught English Language Arts and theatre at Plymouth South High School, where she also served as the ELA department head and the drama club advisor. Liz has also worked as an instructional coach and education consultant specializing in literacy instruction and differentiated instruction. In addition to her work as a mother, Liz currently directs theatre productions for Massassoit Community College and serves on the board of directors for New Bedford Festival Theatre. The majority of her time, however, is spent raising her son James and daughter Muriel with the help of her super supportive spouse, Matt. Liz is excited to be a part of the team at Providence Moms Blog, where she hopes to refresh her writing skills and reflect on this crazy and beautiful thing that is motherhood.