You yawned and turned over in bed, rubbing the sleep from your eyes. “Good morning, ba-… babe?”
You sat up in bed, realizing you were alone and looked around for your husband. Not in the bathroom. Not up getting dressed… Where was he?
“Al?” you said, getting out of bed and putting on your robe. “Alec? Babe?”
That’s when you heard the giggling coming from downstairs. You hurried down the stairs and looked around before heading downstairs to the living room, finding your husband with a ton of blankets and pillows in his arms. “Babe? What are you doing? It’s 6:30 AM.”
He looked up at you and smiled. “Hey honey. Little guy woke me up to help him out.”
“Mommy!” you heard your son say before noticing him crawling out from under a blanket that was rested between two chairs, still in his Buzz Lightyear pajamas. He got up and ran over, hugging your waist. “Good morning, mommy.”
You smiled. “Good morning, sweetheart. What’s all this?”
“We’re making a fort, mommy!” your son, Leon said. “Daddy’s helping me build a fort!”
He nodded “Yeah! I saw one in a book and I wanted to make one too! Please, mommy?”
You looked up and over at Alec who gave you equally cute puppy-dog eyes much like the ones your four year old son was giving you. So that’s where he got those from. Yep, there was no arguing about this one, was there?
“Okay, honey. Let’s make a pillow fort.”
Leon grinned wide and hugged you again. “Thank you, mommy! Come on! We gotta find as many pillows and blankies as we can!”
You smiled, “Okay, honey. I will get you all the blankets and pillows and cushions I can get and so will your daddy. I promise.”
He grinned and ran back to the fort, messing with something under one of the blankets inside. You looked up at your husband who was back to arranging pillows and draping blankets over chairs.
You smiled to yourself and went to the hall cupboard, opening it up to find rolled up blankets and extra pillows. Perfect. You grabbed some pillows as well as a few rolled up blankets, tucking them under your arms and heading back to the living room.
“Did you guys forget about the hall cupboard? It’s a gold mine in there. Tons of blankets and pillows in there. We can make this thing huge.”
Leon grinned and hurried over to the closet. “Daddy, come help me!”
Alec smiled. “Coming, little man.”
You watched them make several trips from the cupboard to the fort while you stayed and helped build and position the items to make a ceiling and soft walls on the inside of the fort.
The three of you ended up taking a break for breakfast, juice, and coffee an hour into the building, but it was done by 9.
The fort ended up being huge and taking up a large amount of space in the middle of the living room. You used every chair, blanket, duvet, pillow, and cushion you could find in the house.
“There we go. All done, love. Doesn’t it look wonderful?”
Leon nodded, grinning widely. “It’s like a castle, mommy! A big, soft sleepy castle!”
Alec smiled and ruffled his hair. “Yeah it does, little lion. We did a great job! High five!”
He grinned and gave his father a high five. “Yeah! Mommy, daddy, come on! Let’s play in it! We can watch Big Hero 6!”
You smiled softly to yourself. “Again, buddy? How about we watch Aladdin first and then we can watch Big Hero 6? That sound okay to you?”
The four year old nodded. “Only if we can watch Toy Story after.”
“Deal, little man. Go get your stuffies and your blankie and I’ll put the movie in, okay?”
Leon grinned and ran upstairs to his room while you went to the DVD rack, picking out Aladdin, Big Hero 6- the movie that was your son’s latest obsession next to hockey-, and Toy Story, popping Aladdin into the DVD player first. “Alright. Movie time.”
Hours later, you found yourself carrying your sleepy little boy upstairs while Alec was downstairs, figuring out how to take apart the fort after watching a Disney movie marathon consisting of other films like Inside Out, Monsters Inc, The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch, and the original Mighty Ducks as well as the 3 films you had originally planned out. It was dark outside and you had ordered pizza for dinner instead of cooking, preferring to have a lazy day indoors and to stay snuggled with your family.
“Come on, sleepyhead. Time for beddy-bye.”
He yawned and snuggled as you carried him into his room and over to his bed. “I’m not tired, mommy…”
“You sure about that, love?”
He nodded slowly, eyed heavy lidded with sleep as you put him into his bed and tucked him and his stuffed bear in. “I’m not sleepy. Not at all.”
“Okay, little one. If you say so. But I’m sure you will be soon.” You kissed his forehead and smiled. “I love you so much, Leon.”
“I love you too, mommy.”
You smiled as he drifted off, turning on his nightlight before you left his room and went back downstairs. “Al? He’s asleep, love.”
He nodded, folding up a blanket. “Good. Can you help?”
You nodded and went over, helping him disassemble the fort the three of you made together. “This was fun. We should do it again sometime.”
He nodded. “Yeah, maybe we should. I enjoyed it. I think he did too.”
You smiled. “Yeah. Now come on, babe. Let’s take this monster of a fort down and head to bed. That sound good?”
He smiled back. “Sounds good to me, baby. Love you.”
Twenty-five years ago this week, four Los Angeles policemen — three of them white — were acquitted of the savage beating of Rodney King, an African-American man. Caught on camera by a bystander, graphic video of the attack was broadcast into homes across the nation and worldwide.
Fury over the acquittal — stoked by years of racial and economic inequality in the city — spilled over into the streets, resulting in five days of rioting in Los Angeles. It ignited a national conversation about racial and economic disparity and police use of force that continues today.
“When the verdict came out, it was a stunner for people coast to coast. My jaw dropped,” says Jody David Armour, a criminal justice and law professor at the University of Southern California.