I am now, at age 40, afraid of the dark. I sleep with a rainbow nightlight that I won at a White Elephant Bunco Party. It stays on each night in our hallway and I keep our bedroom doors open. Justin sleeps with an extra pillow to put over his head because the constant change of the colors is too much for him to bear. Blue is my favorite. Red surprises me sometimes and makes me believe there’s a fire. I can see down part of the front staircase and into the foyer. Well, see is a bit of an exaggeration, as I am blind without my contacts or glasses. I can see shapes and shadows and anything ominous. I suppose for Justin the pillow and the nightlight are a compromise he is willing to make because when the kids move the nightlight or it is turned off for some reason that only makes sense to a five year old, I make him get up and examine the shadows and noises I cannot see or make sense of.

But why now, why am I afraid of the dark at 40? I think it’s more a fear of what I can’t see. A fear of never wanting to be surprised. I want to have the big things planned out and in plain sight. I like to have a strategy and when there is darkness around I don’t have one. It’s all kind of strange though, there is no planning in my daily life. With four kids, countless things go awry before 8 a.m. or at least all of my plans need to be ditched for new ones. Snow days and sick days make the best laid plans fall apart. Even rainbow nightlights don’t keep me from being startled by 13 year old sleepwalkers asking me if I want a drink.

You see it’s quite simple I guess, I like to know what’s coming in the land of the dark in my house and in my life and the rainbow nightlight is the only thing that helps me begin to do that.

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