It’s getting late and my eyelids are heavy. The day has been long and draining for this mama.
The sun has quietly tucked away beneath the horizon and a full moon now lights up the night sky.
Little teeth are brushed and gleaming, and jammies are on. Bible story is read, prayers are said, and off they go, shuffling down the hall.
Do one thing, then the next, and the next, then off to bed.
Sing the lullaby, kiss the forehead, and turn out the light.
I find myself hurrying through our routine. It’s my time to get evening chores done; the sink needs scrubbing, coffee pot needs setting, and there’s laundry left to fold.
There’s a quiet voice from a sleepy boy who is standing in the doorway: “Mommy, can I sleep with you?” he whispers.
“Not tonight, honey,” I reply.
I look into his eyes as he looks down. He feels rejected. It pierces me. Maybe I can slow down and give him a few minutes?
“Come here and let me hold you for awhile,” I whisper, moving toward our old brown couch, the couch that’s witnessed many early morning prayers, little boy wrestling matches, and runaway Cheerios.
He crawls up into my arms.
I rock him, sing softly to him… remembering what it was like to hold him when he was so much smaller, just a baby, with wrinkled skin and rosy cheeks and clear eyes. He’s not a baby anymore, but he’s still my baby and always will be.
As he begins to fall asleep, I nudge him. “Let me carry you to bed and I’ll lay with you there for a little while.”
We crawl into his bed and I draw up the covers, snuggling in. I kiss his little boy cheeks, rub his head, trace my finger on his nose.
After awhile, when his breathing is steady and slow, I inch to the edge of the bed and gingerly, gently, slip one of my legs out from under the covers. So much to get done…
His little hand clenches my shirt.
“Don’t go,” he whispers.
And so I stay awhile longer.
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