Good night, Iron Man.

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For years I have lived in a safe haven surrounded by super hero-loving boys. They throw on capes and masks, build fortresses, keep and also forget secret passwords. They fight the bad guys. They beg me to wear my Super Girl or “Wonda Woman” costume. I wash and fold what seems like infinite amounts of Batman, Spiderman, Ninja turtle, and Avengers clothing. I think, “How many more super hero t-shirts can we have?” Then, I go shopping at Target and yep, I buy a few more. Because they are different, softer, more vintagey than the others at home. Maybe. Or maybe I am a sucker for the unplanned, unnecessary, sporadic Target purchases. I feel like I did hit an all-time low the other day when I purchased a super hero pseudo-lingerie set. What was I thinking on that one? My three year old loved it. Big surprise. You can guarantee that I won’t be walking up to guest services to return that outfit. Awkward much? Maybe they are for super hero loving teenage girls? I haven’t been a teenager in years. Even more embarassing.

Tonight, as my littlest begged to hold his little Iron Man action figure as he fell asleep, it hit me. These are fleeting moments of sweet innocent all boyness. As his arm relaxed and he fell into a deep sleep, his fingers still clinched tightly around that little Iron Man. And I know for a fact, that when that precious boy wanders into his mom and dad’s room for an upgrade in bed size, he will still be holding that Iron Man in his little hand. His older brothers used to do this too. Used to. They have outgrown this desire to keep playing, even as they fall into sleep. You must hold tightly onto the toy you will play with. So that right as you wake up in the morning, you can continue where you left off. When you are a child, a toddler, that is, your life revolves around play. Wake up. Play. Eat. Play. Kind of eat. Play. Sleep, boring old bedtime, has to invade into playtime. Every night, around the same time. Sort of. Some are better than others at a solid set bedtime. I’m one of the others. “But, we didn’t have gazzert (dessert) yet, Mom.” You’re right, let’s get back downstairs and make it happen.

I happen to love bedtime most nights. The day closes in. Everybody has survived. That’s pretty spectacular. There’s the reading of books, telling stories, or watching a show. The boys all crowd around me like I am some sort of famous movie star. It can be physically demanding, making more room, situating three boys perfectly so they all feel equally important. And loved. Then, it can also be emotionally overwhelming. How awesome to be so special that three little people are aching, elbowing and squirming to be the closest one to you. The extremely lucky mom of three boys.

Good night, Iron man. Tony Stark. Yes, I also know your alter ego. Rest well. You will have a busy day tomorrow. Hopefully, you will not lose any limbs in a freak superhero accident. All boys. Know that if you do, there will be other superheroes with lost limbs readily available to empathize with you.

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