Every night in our Shanghai hotel room, our four-year-old daughter Meredith goes to bed first. The full-sized bed she shares with her seven-year-old brother Henry is set longwise against the window sill. The windows are the width of the room, reaching up nearly to the ceiling, and they provide a southern view of the Hongkou neighborhood and southeastern view beyond the Huangpu river of Pudong.
We close the curtains, read Meredith a story, tuck her in, then shut the door that leads to the room my wife and I share.
My wife reads another chapter from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to our son on our bed. Usually, I lie next to them, eyes closed, exhausted from another exhilarating day here, and listen to my wife’s voice recite Harry’s adventures.
When this next chapter has been read (or my wife is too tired to go on or our son has drifted off), we quietly open the door to the other room.
Before Henry can get into bed, we find Meredith asleep, head at the foot of the bed, facing a gap in the curtains that she has made, with a view of the lit up skyline that is anchored by the multi-colored lights of the Pearl Tower, her favorite building.