It is almost 10 p.m., and Yukon is just now tucking Bear into bed with his usual round of stories. The sun is also just now deciding to tuck itself in behind the western end of Cook Inlet as summertime's perpetual presence ekes ever closer to the famed Midnight Sun.
This is always a bone of contention among many Alaskan parents. Do we let them stay up, or don't we? Frankly I was just telling Yukon tonight, as we were sitting at our gloriously sunny dining room table eating dinner at, ahem, 8 p.m., that weather like today's makes it downright impossible to establish or keep any sort of bedtime routine. Especially when school is out two short weeks from now.
Kids will roam the streets after the time most of us have decided they should be in bed, or at least at home. Remember when you were little and your mom plunked you in bed before it got dark, and always you could still hear some kids somewhere playing outside? I hated those kids.
After five summers in Alaska, we have finally figured out that allowing Bear to stay up late does no one, least of all him, any service when it comes to living life the next day. Perhaps nowhere else does the end-of-summer mantra played by school districts everywhere make more sense than Alaska if kids have grown used to two-plus months of staying up until midnight and suddenly are forced to wake up again at 7 a.m. to catch the school bus at 8. Ouch.
So while the alpenglow is of particular beauty tonight and the sky remains fairly clear, and the grass continues to grow under our very feet, our small son is nonetheless packed away in his bunk bed, blackout shades pulled tight, so that his parents might experience a good morning.