Can I Tuck You In?

Last night, a dear friend of mine agrees to visit my children around bedtime to read stories and “tuck them in.”  It’s so whimsical and comforting:  a loving friend stops by, has a bedtime snack with you, reads you your favorite book, says bedtime prayers, and leaves you sleeping soundly by 8:30 PM.  That’s a great tuck-in.

The Perfect Tuck-In

I want to hire her to tuck me in.

When do we stop needing that moment at the end of the day when somebody gets us situated in a snug spot and goes through a ritual designed to transition us into dreamland?

As I’m lying on the floor listening to the bedtime stories, I recall great tuck-in moments.  My dad used to throw my sister and me over his shoulder as his “sack of potatoes” to carry us up the stairs to bed.  The sack-of-potatoes tuck-in brought me so much security and joy each night. 

Years later, I was a camp counselor presented with the challenge of tucking in 7th grade girls.  For the ten girls in my cabin at Camp Greystone, I read the Bible with a flashlight in a soft voice as they listened in their bunks.  Then, I walked around the cabin, touched heads, straightened blankets, leaned over, and whispered something simple like:  “I hope you have a great night’s sleep and wonderful dreams.”  I would mention something I noticed about their days–something good that happened–and I’d remind them of the great day they would have tomorrow.

I tucked them in.  

They were 13 years old.  They seemed to hate it at first.  They’d turn their face away and act like they’d already fallen asleep.  But within a week, they’d beg for the tuck-in, reminding me that I should do this and saving tidbits of joy to share with me.

Another great tuck-in memory came as I recalled the year the preschool had an auction to raise money.  One of the auction items was a tuck-in from the teacher!  She’d arrive in her cow printed pajamas and appear in your bedroom for stories.  Families fought to win that prize.  The tuck-in prize was the single highest grossing item at the auction.  

I’m older now, and there’s nobody tucking me in.  And what about all my friends?  Who tucks them in?

I want to tuck my loved ones in.  I know I can’t literally do this (maybe I could), but I can symbolically provide tuck-in moments.  I can make a phone call, send a text, write an email, say a prayer.   I can send out a million reminders that you’re secure and safe, loved and cherished. 

I crawl into my own bed.  I make a snug spot and remind myself of these things.  I read a book to myself and say my prayers.  I’m secure.  I’m tucked in. 

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9 Responses

  1. Heather, you've stirred up memories. I miss tucking in my daughters. It's funny I have all these fond memories but I also know there were times when I felt that it was a burden. It reminds me how all of life is a mixture of tremendous opportunity for joy but we can turn it into a negative just by how we approach it. Thanks for this post.

  2. I think as adults, we all long for those days of comfort. My mom would feed me a spoon full of honey with a glass of milk, and then after I brushed my teeth would pull the blankets up high around my chin. Yes. I miss it.

  3. Auctioning off a teacher tuck-in is brilliant!

    Maybe this is why I have to read before I sleep? I've become accustomed to having good fiction authors and characters tuck me in each night…

  4. WOW. What memories this brought up! I will never forget when I was a pre-teen… maybe 10,11… and my Dad came upstairs to tuck me in and I said, “Daaad! I don't need you to tuck me in anymore! I am too old for this!” Oh, why I said this to him, I don't know, but I remember the pain and look of sadness on his face. He respectfully tucked me in, one last time, and that was it. I missed it, after that, but felt silly (and not “grown up”) to go and ask for more tuck-ins. I hope my kids ALWAYS want to be tucked in. (sigh.)

  5. You stirred up memories for me too. My dad also did the sack-of-potatoes tuck-in (a 70s trend perhaps?) My daughter is fortunate to have two tuck-in routines. With me, it's the story of how her dad and I met, had her, etc., which I have recited word-for-word for the past 8 years. With her dad, it's a continuous story involving forest characters in a sort of soap-opera. I don't know at what age she will stop wanting to be tucked in, but I hope it's not anytime soon.

  6. I don't have anyone but my dogs to tuck in at night. However, speaking of e-mail tuck-ins, as part of my signature I quote Julian of Norwich, “All will be well.” A dear email friend of mine has had a terrible year of breast cancer, double mastectomy, chemo and now reconstruction. She told me she cherished that phrase through this entire time – reminding herself her friend told her “all will be well.” My goodness, what a gift she gave back.

  7. Awww, that's so sweet! Brings back memories of when we tucked our 3 in. Nearly every night, the hubs would read with them (I'd also done that before nap time in the afternoon.) and then we'd pray, maybe sing a little, and pull up covers and kiss them each. OH! Thank you, Jesus, for that priviledge!!

  8. Oh, I feel so very tucked in just reading this! And I felt tucked in getting to tuck in! What a lovely thing to share among friends!

  9. Oh wow, this post brought tears to my eyes! Both of my parents used to tuck my sister and I into bed, but I especially remember when my dad would do it because he'd pull back the covers and straighten out our nightgowns (my grandma used to make us long, flannel nightgowns) or pajama pants or whatever, and then pull the covers back up before kissing us goodnight. At first I think he did it to be funny, but after awhile we'd request that he did it for us. After all, no one likes to sleep with their jammies all bunched and twisted up!