“You Cut Your Face Off!” …And Other Bedtime Nightmares

My dad and I last summer – the beard is there… all is right in the world.

My first memories of having any sort of bedtime ritual begin around the age of two. Bedtime was bad enough around that age since I shared a room with my brother.  At that time anything that had to do with my brother was annoying and bedtime was no exception.

My bedtime was 8:00 – always has been – not because my parents said so, but that was just when my day ended, no matter where I was. So around 7:30, I would get bathed, powdered, and lotioned, put on my night gown, listen to a story, and right after “The End” we would kneel beside my brother’s bed.  Dad would put his crutches to the side, kneel down between my brother and I, and we would say the Lord’s prayer together. By the time we got to “forgive us our tresspasses” my brother would start to snicker.  At “lead us not into temptation” he and my dad were in blown giggle. He would get super serious just to say, “and deliver us from Eva…”

“He said deliver us from EEEEVA!  He said deliver us from EEEEEVA!” I would scream and jump to my feet pointing and accusing.  Each night they did it, I’d be so upset like it was the very first time I’d heard it.  I’d calm down, we’d say the last line… kisses on cheeks, hugs, and I get lifted into the crib (I wasn’t very tall, so I was in there for a LONG time). Lights go off, night light goes on. I didn’t really need it – my crib was right at the door, and usually after prayers my dad would disappear into the bathroom across the hall – door open, light shining into our room.

I thrived on routine. I lived for it. People looked the way they looked, sounded the way they sounded, did what they did, and were not allowed to change – ever.

One night, my dad disappeared into the bathroom and closed the door. I remember standing at the end of the crib in the dark with just the night light.  He wasn’t supposed to close the door. It was too dark, not at all what I was used to – so I stood and I waited.  Waited for dad to open up that bathroom door and let the light into our room.  When he opened the door, he must have noticed that I was standing up in the crib, and came over to the doorway.  The bathroom light behind him cast a shadow over him, then he took a step into the room where the light of the nightlight illuminated his face.

“You cut your face off! You cut your face off!” I screamed.  My brother sat up, and looked at his hairless face, unimpressed, and rolled over.  I backed up to the back of the crib – horrified.  My daddy had a beard.  That was just the way that it was.  Facial hair wasn’t optional, it WAS his face!  My dad laughed, turned off the light in the bathroom, and left me there horrified in the dark.  I’m probably not over it. (I am so not over it.)

I have rarely seen my dad without a moustache, and my husband has only shaved his face once since we’ve been together… at my request.  I was curious to see if I could get over my fear of a bald face after such a traumatic introduction it.  He looked fine, but I was really glad when his full beard was back in just a couple of days.

This is one of my dad’s favorite stories about me.

Do you think any of your childhood routines carried over into your adult life?

This post was inspired by Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison. Parenting is a challenging job, but what challenges does a parent with Asperger’s face? Join From Left to Write on March 12 as we discuss Raising Cubby. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.