“Put on your jammies.”
“Have a snack before bed, honey. Bread? Milk?”
“Don’t forget to brush your teeth.”
“Ready for your Bible story?”
“Come on, I’ll tuck you into bed.”
This is our usual bedtime routine. It has become, well, routine. Do one thing, then the next, and the next… Off to bed they go. Kiss on the forehead and turn out the light.
Tonight, though, was different.
“Mommy, can I sleep with you?” he asked me.
“Not tonight, honey.” I looked into his eyes and saw rejection. It pierced me.
“Come here and let me hold you for awhile,” I said.
He crawled in to my arms.
I rocked him, sang softly to him… remembering what it was like to hold him when he was so much smaller.
As he began to fall asleep, I nudged him. “Let me carry you to bed and I’ll lay with you for a little while.”
We crawled into bed. I kissed his little boy cheeks, rubbed his head, traced my finger on his nose.
After awhile, I began to gently slip my leg out from under the covers.
His little hand clenched my shirt.
“Don’t go,” he whispered.
And so I stayed awhile longer.
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