1. The middle of the night; specifically: 12 o’clock at night. – Merriam-Webster1
2. Can’t talk, eating. – The Nut
My night owl tendencies began with a flashlight.
It was my parents’ fault for buying me the thing, knowing how much I loved to read. Really, how was there any possible scenario in which a bookworm like me would not instantly become that stereotypical kid who read under the covers long after they were tucked in for the night?
I guess they figured I would be foiled by the quirk where you had to keep holding the button under the handle to keep the light from fading out. They figured wrong. A stack of large Pink Pearl erasers stuffed into the gap served perfectly well to keep the button held down as long as I pleased, no grip strength required.
It was my parents’ fault for watching The Tonight Show too. If I wasn’t in a reading mood, I would sneak downstairs and hide just outside the TV room to listen in. Johnny Carson was worth the risk of discovery.
The older I got, the less interested I was in going to bed at a reasonable hour. In the summer when I was thirteen, I would stay up until sunrise, sleeping maybe a handful of hours after dawn broke. If I slept at all, which I often didn’t because I was young and strong and sleep was an unnecessary waste of my precious teenage time.
We got connected to the internet when I was 15. My parents gave up lecturing me on the importance of a good night’s sleep and accepted screechy dial-up defeat.
By the time I entered university, my habitual bedtime was a solid 3am.
It was around that time that my mother, a long time insomniac, decided it was no fun spending her sleepless hours staring at the ceiling and listening to my father snore, so she started wandering downstairs around midnight to hang out with me for a while before taking another stab at drifting off.
It didn’t take us long to develop a routine that worked out for both of us.
Midnight Mother-Daughter Protocol (TOP SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL)
Step 1: Is there any chocolate in the house?
• If yes, eat the chocolate.
• If no, proceed to Step 2.
• If yes and but have already eaten all the chocolate while reading this, also proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Get out a mixing bowl and a muffin tin; we’re baking.
It was always blueberry muffins with lemon zest. Mainly because we always had lemons and frozen blueberries lying around, but also because blueberry muffins with lemon zest are the best muffins there are. This is a fact.
I would mix up the batter, the recipe for which I quickly knew better than the back of my hand, portion it into the tin, and we’d pop it in the oven. We would spend the next twenty minutes or so leaning against the kitchen island, chatting idly to pass the time but mostly just staring through the oven window like starved vultures circling a wounded animal. A delicious, blueberry-filled animal.
The beep of the timer would finally rescue us; the muffins would come out of the oven, and we would let them cool for the suggested
5 minutes as long as our will power held out. And then we ate them. God help us, we ate them all.
There would be a silence as the last crumbs disappeared. We would stare at our plates for a bit, coming to terms with the sugary carnage we had been party to.
And then, inevitably, one of us would catch the other’s eye with a look that spoke nothing but said everything:
Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter M, a baker’s dozen, and the CaloriesDon’tCountAfterMidnightRight? Challenge, AKA the Blogging A to Z Challenge.
1 “midnight.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 15 April 2015.