OUR PERSONAL ENCOUNTER OF THE ALIEN KIND (A LEGACY STORY) When you have eleven grandchildren in three states, you don’t miss an opportunity or planned event with them . Such was the case when we went to Wisconsin to visit the Hensler family during a really busy working time for both my husband and myself. We told the family that we would arrive very late as we couldn’t get out of town until after supper.
A family picture of the Hensler’s visiting us in Iowa before the “Alien experience” .
Upon our arrival at the split level house everyone was already in bed and asleep. We had instructions to go to the lower level and in to the room of our three year old grandson Dakota. He would sleep up stairs with his folks which was a fun treat for him. We were happy to go straight to bed and sleep since the events of the following day were sure to keep us busy. We moved stealthily through the downstairs to the assigned room, and remembering our instructions, left the hall way light on for nighttime bathroom visits by family members.
I booted my hubby over to the far side of the bed as I needed to plug in my new sleep apnea machine. It had changed my life by giving me the needed oxygen levels during the night; thus helping me be fresh and energized during the day. I had become accustomed to the cumbersome face mask and tubing and was able to go right into a sound sleep snuggled up to my husband. About two in the morning I thought I heard something, then I was sure of it. The pitter-pat of little feet coming down the stairs indicated my grandson was on his way back to his room. I turned over and held my hands out so that he could climb into the water bed with us. The hall light showed his silhouette in the darkness and then he stepped into the room. From his vantage point, it was allowing the light to reach me. Always known for his expressive big eyes, they suddenly were enormous. He dropped his “blanky”, screamed at the top of his lungs, and turned to run out of the room.
Dakota sleeping with his cousin Erica
I was calling his name, trying to untangle the tubing, mask and covers while the piercing screams went on and on as he ran for the stairs. His father had heard the screams and having no idea what was wrong bolted from his bed upstairs. He and I met at the stairway with the screaming little guy on the landing between the two stair case levels. He looked first at me, then at his dad and stood stamping his feet in place and screaming. It was at that point I clearly understood. I looked like a space alien in the mask and tubing, and when he saw me in the light it had scared the little bugger half to death.
It was a real initiation and a little sad. All my grandchildren eventually loved the mask and the air it blew out. They would lay on my chest and let the air blow on them. It seemed to soothe them and the younger ones often fell asleep that way when they slept with me. But they had seen me demonstrate it so it was easy not to scare them as they had even helped me put it on. This little guy was completely taken aback and it took a long time to get him over it. He was slow to want to hug Grandma Lady again. We still laugh about the night the “alien” was in his bed; and how he flew up the stairs screaming. His dad was so scared, he ran down the stairs in only his underwear.
Depending on who is telling the story, that image had its own humor for the two adults involved in the incident.
The legacy of laughter, and making even the event of a sleep apnea machine special, is something shared by this grandson and me.
Another picture of Dakota laughing with his cousin Erica. And the Hensler Family including Aspen.