An Aunt's Story by Cheryl Brush

This summer Al and I took our niece Hailey (8) and her brothers, Gavin (10) and Dallas (12), on a train trip to Oregon and California. We toured Crater Lake and Redwoods National Park. It was our first road trip with the kids and our first experience playing “substitute parents” together. We didn’t do too badly—everyone returned on good speaking terms and with all of their electronic gear. I enjoyed sleeping with everyone in one room and getting to give the kids a good-night hug and kiss.

On our final night our motel room had three beds in two rooms; one room had a large king-sized bed and the main room had two queen-sized beds. Dallas immediately began a campaign to have the king-sized bed/room for himself. He dialed up to a “pout” when we delayed making a decision (we got pretty good at weighing decisions when each one was met with an automatic appeal!).

As I thought the decision over, the story of King Solomon came to mind. Solomon was asked to decide a custody dispute of a baby between two women. When Solomon decreed that the baby would need to be split down the middle, Solomon realized the woman who relinquished her claim rather than have the baby harmed was the true mother. While bed choice was a slightly less serious issue, I was relieved when a solution came to mind. Having noticed how important it was for the kids to have a say in decisions, I issued my edict: Al and I would take the king- sized bed and separate room; Dallas would have a bed of his own, but Gavin got to pick which bed he and Hailey used, and Hailey got to choose which side of the bed she would sleep on! Ahhh...something for everyone and not a single appeal filed.