Lipreading Mom’s Goodnight Prayer

I love you, too
No matter what we do.

The Goodnight Prayer was my idea. But it was my little sister who decided we should add to it all the names of guys from Tiger Beat magazine we were in love with at the time.

I love
Corey Haim
Tom Cruise
Brad Pitt
Kirk Cameron
and Tom Selleck.

It was our late-night chant—Lil’ Sis sprawled out on her daybed, me on the floor mattress with wheels. Who could’ve blamed me for being a tad resentful while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to Young Male Hotties? My fingers easily touched the filthy matted shag carpet five inches below.

Goodnight. Whose good night? Was there any reason why I, Junior High Majesty, should share a room with Lil’ Sis, herself three-and-a-half years younger than said Majesty? The Lil’ Sis of the burping-the-National-Anthem-in-one-breath persuasion, sitting atop her brass three-feet-off-the-floor daybed. Child of the bedroom domain, her clean and unwashed clothes strewn across matted carpet, within fingertip reach of the mattress on wheels.

The prayer endured the changes of bedroom décor and furniture. From the beginning years with ‘50s-style bunk beds with matching ladder off the side, to the changing of bed sheets—from garage sale Holly Hobby to the entire Smurfs gang bought on Kmart clearance. At least in the beginning years I got the top bunk.

From the bunk beds, we moved to a full-size mattress, which we shared. Our prayer was spoken with us side by side, with Lil’ Sis whining about me hogging the covers and taking up too much bed space. The prayer became longer, me adding a new hottie here, Lil’ Sis adding a new hottie there.

I love
Corey Feldman
Tom Hanks
Ricky Schroeder
and Brainy Smurf.

Then one day, my propensity to hog the bed and refusal to recite Brainy Smurf as the love of my life forced me on the floor. Lil’ Sis, ever the blue-eyed, blonde-banged charmer, won her case with Mom and Dad. They purchased a discount store brass twin bed with the painted white railings and knobs, and two identical mattresses to fit on and below the bed frame.

Every night from kindergarten to high school, I fell asleep to Lil’ Sis’ words.

I love you, too
No matter what we do.

Like second nature, I repeated the prayer back to her.

I love you, too
No matter what we do.

And I meant it.


In memory of my Little Sis (1977-2007) and for her three girls

3 thoughts on “Lipreading Mom’s Goodnight Prayer

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