I have always been very involved in my children’s bedtime routines. My wife and I put the kids to bed through teamwork. Brushing teeth, putting pajamas on, praying, and reading books are the usual items on the agenda. Most nights though it typically involves reading lots of books and sometimes telling stories. Often now my middle son goes to sleep while reading books on the couch, and my oldest son goes to sleep while I lay in bed with him and my wife reads.
Even when my first son was in the womb, I read stories to my wife in the evening while she rested on the couch. Over the years since our first pregnancy, I’ve read board books, picture books, chapter books, and juvenile fiction to them before bed.
One of the routines that started with my oldest son after my second son was born was laying in bed with him while my wife nursed and read. At one point my middle son made it difficult for my wife to read and nurse, so I improvised and asked my oldest son what he wanted to hear a story about. Over time this started to be a part of the routine when reading a book was not possible. In this way, many characters such as Grasshopper, Cricket, Timmy, Squeaky, Red, Monk, Johnny, Stinky the Shark, and, of course, Speckles and Ben were born.
My oldest son has been the “creator” of many characters about whom I have told him stories. All my sons have been inspirations behind the characters and sometimes the themes of those stories. I have a few books with a series of stories inspired by adventures I’ve had with my sons. Others are inspired by stories my sons invent themselves. But the majority of them come from the time spent telling stories to my son as he goes to sleep in my arms.
My boys are my muses and I would have never thought to tell the stories about which I have written if they hadn’t been a part of my life. The adventures we have, the time we spend together, the experiences we share, I will always treasure. They are so special to me I want to bless others by sharing them through the books I write.