Lights Out

Five minutes into Sean’s dinner last night, the power went out and our house was plunged into darkness and silence. Sean was not amused. Even though I was sitting right next to him at the time, he let out a wail, and once I picked him up, wouldn’t let go of my shirt.

Jason came walking into the room with his Touch lit up so we could see where we were walking, and waited until I had found the flashlight I keep near the front door. After opening the front door and seeing the entire neighborhood blacked out, we came back inside and went on a flashlight scavenger hunt. And to quote the Hubbs: “For someone as flashlight crazy as you, how come we have so few?” Duly noted.

Actually, I have a ton of flashlights. The problem is that their batteries died awhile go and I never got around to buying more. Because I’m forgetful like that. For example: I have a charger-based MagLite that is only useful as a billy club because about a year ago it stopped holding a charge. I have two … make that THREE SureFire flashlights in my posession and all of them have dead batteries. My camping lantern was broken in a move and never replaced. All things I have been MEANING to do before life distracts me.

We moved on to the bedroom, Sean still thoroughly freaked out, when I found my backup, hand-held lantern flashlight. As soon as we turned it on, Sean relaxed — and took it from me to run down the hall with so he could find his toy cars. I handed the Hubbs a quart-sized bag of tea lights before following Sean out the door. I also found my trusty small, hand-held, lantern-style flashlight that I had stored in Sean’s room since he likes to play with it. Amazingly, the batteries were still good.

And so while Sean and I played in the fireplace room lit up with flashlights, Jason went around the house, placing candles in strategic spots: Where they could give us some light without being anywhere close to Sean’s reach.

We never were able to get Sean back into his highchair to eat dinner. he was too amped. Instead, we played ball down the halls, watching the tea lights flicker as we ran, casting shadows against the wall. We laid on the carpet and played with toy cars. We sat and cuddled. I wish I had taken pictures. I wish I knew how to take low-light pictures. The night seemed almost magical in its simplicity.

When it was his bedtime, I changed Sean into his pjamas in the muted light from one of the lanterns. We sat on the couch, fiddling with the flashlights so I could read the stories and Sean could see the pictures while drinking his milk. Halfway through story time, the lights flickered back on, and blinking in the sudden brightness, we turned the flashlights off. Hubbs went around the house snuffing out all the candles. And bedtime took on its normal routine.

And today? I went on Amazon and ordered new flashlight batteries, a family-size camping lantern, and extra emergency candles. Next time, we’ll be better prepared.

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