NOTE: This post will make more sense if you first read part 1: The Moon Unplugged? Not For Me!!
I know that “my public” is in complete suspense about the outcome of my lunar eclipse dilemma, so I will put the two of you out of your collective misery and tell you who won. Was the victor Mom Unplugged or the Evil Sleepy Mom?
The answer is: guilt prevailed and I think I deserve a genuine Good Mom Award for this one!!
I set my alarm for 2:30 AM so as to not be the complete loser I knew I would be by certainly sleeping through the entire eclipse. Unfortunately the moon was not conveniently eclipsing directly over the skylights above my bed. And…horror of horrors…I could actually see STARS, many, many stars. Not a single cloud in the sky. There went my bad weather excuse.
I decided to drag myself out of bed to try and find the moon. I was also worried that the three new kittens on their first night completely loose in the house, might have become terminally ensnared in the hanging beads of their favorite lampshade. Despite having moved that particular floor lamp away from any easy launching pads, I quite expected to come downstairs to find all three kittens, each dangling from the lampshade by a single claw.
Perhaps all was not lost in the sleep department either. Maybe the moon was putting on its special show directly over the living room skylight that is above the sofa. I had visions of continuing my sleep on the sofa while my junior astronomer studied the eclipse beside me. Or better yet, parking my daughter on the sofa with some binoculars and then going back to bed!
Well, there were no Cirque du Soleil kittens suspended from lampshades, and I did see the moon through a living room skylight, but unfortunately not the one over the sofa.
Despite having witnessed several other lunar eclipses in my life, I was still awestruck. For a homework assignment over the weekend, my daughter had just observed that the moon was pretty much full, yet here it was suddenly looking more like a crescent. I decided that I had better be a Good Mom after all and wake her up.
But first I wanted to find the binoculars that I hadn’t seen for three years. As I wandered around the house in search of them, first one kitten, then another, attached itself to my pajama pant legs. There I was, searching the house for a pair of fatally missing binoculars at 2:40 AM with a kitten dangling from each leg of my pajamas, swinging to and fro as I walked.
“OK, enough is enough!” I thought, as I gave up on the binoculars, detached the kittens, and went to wake my daughter. I hopefully thought that my little girl might be a less enthusiastic scientist at this hour, but she eagerly leapt out of bed.
“WOW!” she said as she saw the partially eclipsed moon. We talked about the science of it all as we watched, first from the living room, then from the back deck. Just as it was about to totally eclipse, it occurred to me that we might as well do this up right so I grabbed a flashlight and warm jackets and led us through the backyard and out onto the golf course directly behind our house.
We laid down side by side on the cold, damp grass and there, finally free of the tall Ponderosa Pines that fill our yard, we beheld quite a spectacle. The starry sky formed a perfect dome above us. The now orange-red totally eclipsed moon was, of course, the main attraction. But we had plenty of other celestial wonders to discover alone together, recumbent in our pajamas at 3AM in the middle of the 10th fairway.
We identified the milky way and several constellations. We also saw shooting stars, a first for my daughter. Most were the rapidly fleeting kind, but one was a big slow-moving object that seemed to trail a long tail across the sky before finally evaporating.
I must admit that as we lay there, I was wondering about the schedule of the sprinklers and half expected our lovely time to be rudely interrupted by a sudden dousing of cold water. But we escaped them. Although a bit later, finally back in my warm bed, I did hear the sputterings and squirtings of them turning on. We had a narrow escape!
As we meandered back to bed at about 3:30 AM, my daughter told me that she would dream she was riding between Mars and Earth on a shooting star, sitting astride it and holding on to the top point.
I must say I really did feel like a “real” Mom of the Year as I, slightly damp but happy, tucked her back in bed and kissed her goodnight. Thank you Mr. N (her teacher) for encouraging us to break our routine and gaze at the moon in the middle of the night.