pre-schooler promises

Just another day at my daughter’s home: Feed and change the baby, prepare meals, teach her pre-schoolers manners and love for each other as she sorted out yet another squabble over a toy or activity.
Finally, bedtime arrived. And just like any other day, the pre-schoolers reluctantly worked under their mom’s supervision to put away their own clothes and tidy their rooms before the ritual bedtime story.
That is, it was just another night until Eli, 5, discovered a black vest in his closet.
“What’s this?” he held it up and looked at his mom.
“A vest.”
“Is it a marrying vest?”
“I guess you could wear that to get married,” she mused.
He looked at his sister, Caroline, 3, who had finished tidying her room, and was waiting for the bedtime story, “Caroline, will you marry me?”
She nodded, but that was not enough for her brother, “No, I can’t marry you. You have to have a marrying hat on first,” decreed the engineer of imagination.
She ran to her room and returned wearing a pink stocking cap, her favorite hat.
“That is not a marrying hat,” he decreed.
She returned wearing a white blanket as her veil and a white soft blanket wrapped over her light pink nighty as a wedding dress.
Eli slid the black vest over his dinosaur pajamas. He studied his sister, thinking of the one wedding he had attended.
“You have to have a flower,” he decreed.
They found a silk Gerber daisy in Caroline’s stash of hair decor and with some help arranged it on another toy’s rod to make a floral bouquet for Caroline.
By then Daddy had come to watch.
“Dad, will you marry me?”
But first, Eli had one more necessity for the wedding, “We need rings.”
His father looked around and found a couple of pedicure sponges. As he explained later, “It was just the closest thing I could find to the real ring.”
Eli pronounced the couple ready for the wedding.
With the wedding march solemnly hummed by their mother – also the wedding photographer – the couple approached their father.
“Will you, Eli, take Caroline to be your sister? Will you always promise to be her big brother, to love and protect her in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?”
Eli agreed.
Then Daddy turned to Caroline, “Will you, Caroline, promise to always be Eli’s sister in sickness and in health, to laugh at his jokes, for better or for worse, as long as you both shall live?”
She nodded.
“Then I pronounce you brother and sister.”
As their mom clicked away to record this memorable moment, they slid on their pedicure sponge rings and gave each other a kiss on the cheek, turned and placed a kiss on their dad’s cheek as well.
The wedding clothes came off and bedtime rituals continued … with one more lingering hint of the wedding when Eli ran to his secret stash of candy.
He returned and thrust a piece of gum at his sister, “Here, Caroline. Here is some gum. I told you I would love you,” he paused and looked at her seriously, “but, you have to be good.”
With the children tucked in for the night, the parents sat and marveled at the evening’s turn into the “land of let’s pretend.”
“Do you suppose we could do this every night?” asked the family referee and the night’s astonished father.
Probably not.
Sibling rivalry will continue the rest of their lives, but as the evening’s ceremony proved, even when it is just another day, the pre-schoolers will occasionally astound their parents with glimpses of the children’s love for each other.