Chester was almost in kindergarten and a big boy. He loved everything loud: loud music, loud talking, and loud playing. If it was loud, Chester loved it. Chester also loved to stay busy, from the moment he woke up to the moment he reluctantly went to bed, he was busy. Chester was busy stacking blocks and knocking them down with his trucks. He was busy building railroad tracks and tiny, faerie houses. Chester was busy reading books and playing monster tag with the older kids in the neighborhood. Chester loved being loud and busy so much that when his Mother told him it was quiet time and time for a nap, Chester hid. He hid behind the pile of storage boxes in the garage. Mother had to go to work, so Grandmother, the babysitter had to find Chester.
“Ready or not here I come!” Chester heard Grandma’s voice and came running out to greet her. He gave her a great, big hug:
“Hi Nana! Want to play?”
“How about we read a story in your room with the lights out?” suggested Grandma.
Chester frowned. Grandma’s voice lifted with excitement. “You’ll want to be rested so you can get up early for a special surprise.”
“Surprise?” asked Chester. He was eager to find out what it was. Grandma smiled her big, warm smile.
“Yes. We are going to get up very early to watch a lunar eclipse. Your Mother will be with us too.”
“What’s a lunar lip?”
“Lunar eclipse. When the moon passes through the earth’s shadow. Do you want me to read you a story about it?” Chester nodded. Grandma started to read. Usually the rhythm of her voice lulled Chester to sleep, but not today. Chester was too excited to sleep.
“Let’s make some moon cookies, quietly,” suggested Grandma. Chester was happy with that, as long as he didn’t have to nap. By the time Mother came home after dinner, Chester was yawning and ready for bed. He made Grandma promise that she would wake him early so he could see the lunar eclipse. She promised.
Grandma didn’t have to wake up Chester. He woke up right at 4:30am, like he had a built-in alarm clock. He bumped into Grandma in the hallway. She was on her way to wake him.
“Surprise!” he shouted. “Shh!” whispered Grandma. Mother yawned as she met them in the hallway. Dad was still sleeping, so the three of them had to tiptoe outside. Behind their house was a small hill. Chester, Mother and Grandma walked halfway to the top. Grandma spread out a blanket and the three of them sat down. It was very exciting for Chester because it was still dark out. He could see the stars,
“Look! The Big Dipper!” He knew the Big Dipper because it was in his star book. “Look!” “There’s the Moon! It’s wearing a blanket!” shouted Chester.
Mother and Grandmother both said: “Shh!” and smiled. Grandma poured hot chocolate out of a thermos and the three of them huddled together under a big, comfy blanket.
“Tell a story Grandma,” insisted Chester.
“Once upon a time Moon was young.” began Grandma.
“Is she young now Grandma?” asked Chester.
“Oh no, she is a Grandmother like me. Once she was but a young moon, and she loved more than anything to shine brightly.”
“Like the top of her is right now?” asked Chester.
“Yes. The trouble is she wanted to shine, shine, shine all the time.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Chester wanted to know.
“Well, you see, the moon needs to rest just like children otherwise she gets very tired.” Chester frowned. Grandmother continued:
“Now Moon had a Mother, and that Mother knew that Moon needed to shine some of the time, and rest some of the time, so she came up with a plan. Moon’s Mother asked the earth to throw a blanket over Moon when she wasn’t looking. The earth agreed. So one night when Moon was shining especially bright, the earth moved in front of her and threw a blanket on top of her.
“Like the one she has right now?” asked Chester as he stared at Moon half covered by a shadowy blanket.
“Yes, like the one she has now. No sooner had the blanket covered her, then Moon began to get verrry sleepy. She yawned a big yawn. Her Mother sang her a song, and Moon’s great big eyes began to droop, she pulled the blanket right over her head and fell fast asleep. And that is how Moon learned that sometimes you need to rest so you have energy to shine brightly.”
Chester didn’t hear Grandma’s last words, “Goodnight Grandmother Moon,” because he was busy dreaming of moons and blankets while curled up in his Mother’s arms.
The very next day Chester was playing with his toy dog, and frog. Frog wanted to play jump frog but Dog wanted to nap, so Chester told them the story of Grandmother Moon’s Blanket. He snuggled next to them, and pulled the blanket right over their heads, just like Grandmother Moon they were soon fast asleep.
And that’s the end of the Story.
Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.
Photo: Copyright © 2014, Theodore Herzberg