"Hannahlou, you bring home the sun, the moon, and all the stars for me. I love you very very much, and I always always will."

This is how she tucks Hannah in at night. Unlike her mother, Hannah is a night owl. Tuck her into bed, and it's like turning her chatter button to "on". "Mama, how many stars are there? A billion zillion jillion?" So her mother explains how much a million is, a billion is..."Mama, are you going to die?"...."Mama, I really want the bed for my doll...."

"Hannah, go to sleep."

"But mama, you forgot sun moon stars." This is sometimes the beginning of a game, sometimes just the last tucking in phrase, sometimes the beginning of some other wandering sleepy child conversation. She's always torn about whether to try to get Hannah to be quiet, or to let her ramble, and enjoy the meanderings of a wild child imagination.
"Hannah, you bring home the bugs, the butterflies and aaallll the frogs for me."

(Giggles.) "Mama, that's not right."

"Hannah, you bring home the sun, the moon, and all the hippopotamuses for me."

More giggles, just because hippopotamus is a funny word.
"Mama, THAT'S not RIGHT."

Until finally, Mama says it right, and she's satisfied.

This is the base material that rituals are made from. They both know what is right, they even have a shortcut for it - "Mama, you forgot to say sun moon stars!!" And if Helen forgets, Hannah doesn't have to go to sleep until her mother get's it right.

Once Hannah is asleep, her face goes back to that incredible angelic innocence of babyhood, all of the animation smoothing out. Smoothing the hair back from her face, listening to her breathe, wondering how someone only three feet tall can not only take up an entire bed but destroy all of the covers during the night. Her mother loves her so much sometimes it makes her hair stand on end....

Hannahlou, you bring home the sun, the moon, and all the stars for me.

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