“Are you crazy?” I said to my husband. He ignored me. Padding to our children’s bedrooms, he whispered, “Come here! I have something to show you.” It was 1:30 in the morning.
I stood at the top of the stairs. One by one, he collected our kids and shuttled them outside to the front stoop. There, on the cement, they parked their little tired bodies for the next hours, staring at the northern lights flashing across the sky. Even in June, the night was chilly enough that I could see puffs of air leaving their tiny nostrils. I wanted to scold my husband for putting the kids at risk for pneumonia, but I stayed quiet.
No one said much during that hour in the dark. We simply watched and shivered as brilliant green and red corrugated sheets (they really look like this) streaked through the night. Then we all crept back up the stairs and into our warm beds.
I had difficulty sleeping afterward. The northern lights were beautiful, but what about spelling tests and kids falling asleep in class? I stewed for another half an hour.
I don’t remember what grades our children were in that year, let alone what they faced during the next school day. I don’t remember because it didn’t matter. What matters is that all four of our kids remember their father’s extraordinary enthusiasm to share something marvelous with them. They remember sitting in the cold next to their dad–and that it was wonderful.