Tuck in Time

My teeth are brushed. My face is washed. My pajamas are on. I’m snuggled next to Mom on the couch. She looks at me and smiles. “Tuck in time!” she says.

I race up the stairs. I try not to step on the bottom of my nightgown. That would slow me down. Mom is coming behind me with her tickle fingers out. “Don’t get caught by the tickle monster!” she calls.

I dive into my bed. I pull the covers up as high as I can. Only the top of my head is peeking out.

Mom comes into my room. “Where’s Emma?” she asks. She looks in the closet. She checks behind my dresser. She peers under the bed.

But she knows where I am. It’s where I always am at tuck in time. Waiting under the blankets for a story and a hug and a kiss goodnight.

“I don’t see her,” Mom says. She sits on my feet and I squirm. “I’m right here!” I call out. We laugh.

“Which book tonight?” Mom asks. And I find the one I put under my pillow. My favorite.

Mom reads it twice. She does all the voices. I ask her to read it again, but she says it’s time for sleep.

She gives me a hug and a kiss. I ask for another. This time she says yes. She always says yes to more hugs.

“Good night, sleep tight,” Mom says. “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” She turns out my light and closes my door.

I sigh and wiggle down into the covers. I hold my stuffed bunny tight. Tuck in time is the best part of the day.