After a long day, the cuddling and rocking of bedtime routines are cathartic. Inhaling deeply, I smell Dove soap and baby lotion as Bella climbs on my lap in the chair by her window. “We can’t forget to rock, Mommy,” she whispers. I pull her close, her Digger Dog held tightly.
I lean my face against her freshly washed hair and begin to sing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” I finish and begin again, singing it like a round. She pulls up and looks in my eyes, “You forgot the Amen, Mommy.” (This from the child who walked through Kohl’s and rearranged the mugs because Spongebob and Hannah Montana were on the same shelf and it was disorderly.) I smile and am sure to sing the Amen this time. Then we curl into each other and I ask God once again for time to stop. Her sighs lengthen as sleep begins to overtake her.
It is then that I hear it. Daddy is with the boys in their room, and voices loudly invade our quiet. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” It is a beautiful invasion. An invasion that wipes away all the clutter and mess of the day. We are one even though we are in separate rooms, and there is a calm that deepens.
Lights out. Blankets tucked. Stuffed animals grasped tightly. Books read. Prayers prayed. We tiptoe down stairs for time together. The hush of evening is settling.
Then we hear it. Soft footfalls on the stairs. Brown eyes peer around the corner.
“I can’t sleep.” Asher sighs, ever the picture of his father. “May I read?” He goes back to his room, slips between covers and turns open pages that transport him to another world.
There is nothing like creeping into his room an hour later to find him fast asleep curled up with Peter Pan, pulling those covers up around him, turning out his bedside lamp, and kissing that sweet forehead.
It makes all those “uncivilized behaviors” disappear.
And I breathe prayers over them each night, thanking my Father for these children, three of the abundant blessings He has poured into our lives. And I realize bedtime routines are just one of the many things that make being a mom the best job in the world.