There was an argument happening in our dining room just before bedtime. I couldn’t entirely make out what was happening, but it seemed to be related to a disagreement that Clara and Lydia had earlier in the day which still hadn’t been settled. Andrea seemed to be handling things with the usual grace and balance, but I thought I might stick my head in for a moment to see if I could add any fatherly assistance.

I arrived just in time to find Clara rolling her eyes as she waved her tired arms in the air. “Ugh, I can’t!” She groaned.

“Can’t what?” I asked.

“I can’t love Lydia AND sleep. It will never work. I’ll end up awake all night trying and never being able to rest. It’ll be miserable.” She closed her eyes, “I’ll just have to wait and love her in the morning.” Then she turned towards me. “Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Mom, tell him to stop laughing. Now, both of you stop laughing. You guys don’t understand. You can’t love someone like Lydia AND sleep. It’s too hard.” She held her hands up in defense. “I’m too tired to love anyone right now, okay? Even you guys are making it hard.”

I tried my best to stop laughing. “Okay, well,” I said to Andrea. “It looks like you have this under control.” I looked at Clara, “You don’t have to believe me, but your mother and I do understand what you are saying. And it IS possible to love someone you are upset with AND sleep. In fact, it’s easier than the alternative. But you kind of have to figure that out on your own. Maybe just talk to your sister quick and give it a chance.”

Twenty minutes later and the two girls had said their reluctant apologies and were tangled up together on a bottom bunk listening to the next chapter of a book. As I finished reading, Clara hugged her sister and drifted off to her own bed. I watched from my chair in the corner, reminded once more just how easy it is to love someone and sleep at the same time.