- “Once upon at Time”
- Plump pillows
- Favorite stuffed animal
- Little girl or boy
- Memories laced with grace
“Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived far, far away in a country called Pakistan…”
The beginning was always the same: The little girl, the far-away land, the ‘once upon a time’. But the plot would change from that point taking the listeners on a journey that included trains and boats; horse-drawn carriages (tongas) and rickshaws; Saturday night movies; roommates and the occasional mean teacher.
The little girl was me, the listeners my children, and the stories were like all stories: truth told through a memory that had rewritten them through the years.
Midnight feasts of fudge, condensed milk, and Ovaltine; camping trips; cats that ran away and train trips all blended into ‘Boarding School Bedtime Stories’. The reality that had been mine became a story for my kids. They would never live as I had, never share the same experiences. And so I chose to communicate through a narrative the world that I had left many years before.
The bedtime story often helps a parent make peace with a past and a present. Laying beside your child on a bed, soft pillows under both heads and the favorite stuffed toy held tightly in their arms as both of you slip into a land where you never grow up is a perfect recipe for peace and contentment. Endings can be rewritten to include what you want, not what actually happened. What seemed at the time difficult can fade into the background and the ‘laced with grace’ memories surface, all of them bringing a smile and slight nostalgia. Best of all, as your child dozes off, you’re left with your silent thoughts and thankfulness that you have grown up enough to tell the story through adult eyes.
Just when you thought hotels couldn’t give you any more luxury, a couple of years ago one hotel decided to offer bedtime stories! At London hotel, room service brings bedtime stories.