Sarah Simpson Column: Shining lights make things alright

Finger-lights and light-up shoes are a great way to get your kids out for a family walk before bed. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Finger-lights and light-up shoes are a great way to get your kids out for a family walk before bed. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Not so much now that it’s getting soggy, but in the weeks leading up to Halloween and for the week following, my family was eating dinner a little earlier than usual for the purpose of being able to get outside for an evening walk before it got too dark and cold. I find that giving the children a good dose of fresh, cold air and some mild exercise before we settle into our night-time routine is really helpful in keeping them from bouncing off the walls and in keeping their father and me from getting frustrated and raising our voices.

It benefits everyone, really. Plus, it’s such a good time.

Because kids’ shoes are so high tech these days, both my children have footwear that lights up, so going outside at dusk naturally means a dance party as soon as the darkness falls. If the shoe lights weren’t enough, while rifling through the junk drawer for cool stuff recently, the kids rediscovered some coloured, finger-flashlights from the Dollar Store we’d tossed in there to avoid losing them in between the couch cushions or wherever they would have ended up had we not gathered them and put them in the drawer.

Of course each child wanted to have a different colour strapped to each of their fingertips before we walked, greatly increasing the amount of time it took to get ready to leave the house, but the dance routines, twinkling eyes and smiles on our kids were worth the extra effort. It definitely brought a party atmosphere to our family walks around the block.

One night we returned home from a walk to find that the house light over the front door was burnt out. It wasn’t that big of a deal because there are three others lighting up the front of the house but it was annoying nevertheless. It wasn’t because I knew I’d have to go buy another outdoor light bulb and haul the ladder out and replace it — that wasn’t too onerous — it was because I’d already done it twice in the last few months with that same fixture.

“What the heck,” I wondered aloud. “Why does it keep burning out?”

The other fixtures on the front of the house are all on the same circuit and I haven’t had to change those bulbs in years, why was this one acting up?

I did a little research online and I’m no electrician but it sounds like there’s some type of loose connection in the fixture.

Loose connections. The phrase hung around in my head. In fact, that phrase kind of describes my brain these days: just a bunch of loose connections resulting in periodic darkness. It’s no big deal though. I know I’m not the only one. Sometimes it takes me a while to get to it, but eventually I just tighten or replace my bulb and my own light shines once again. In the meantime though, like the other three lights that illuminate the front of my house, I can look to other sources of light in my life to guide me: a family walk with my husband and glow-in-the-dark, dancing babies often gets the job done, a solid morning workout followed by a hot cup of coffee is a great way, too, and the list goes on.

Now that the nights are longer and the rains have come, please check on your friends, especially the ones that may have a loose connection or two. It’s easy to forget them while the other brighter lights are lighting the way, but really, all the lights should be lit. That way even when it’s dark, more people will be able to see.

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