My favorite part of the day, I confess, is after my children are asleep.
Those rowdy, rough-and-tumble men, arms out-flung, fallen soldiers on the battlefield of rest. They don’t fall asleep gracefully, my boys. They fall…head first, feet first, fighting every inch until they can fight no more. As my friend, and fellow boy-mom, Tickled Red says, “It’s a symphony of elbows, knees and feet that never changes… no matter how old they become.”
I love creeping into their rooms in the quiet dark to find them there, gentle and beautiful in their slumber. I tuck in an arm or a leg, adjust the blankets a bit, and then I lean in close and just breathe…there is nothing like it, that sweet in and out breath of them. The smell of asphalt and baby shampoo, Oreos and Eucerin. And something else inexplicable, primal, pure. Only a mother knows – I breathe them in, kiss them goodnight, and for a moment… everything is right with the world.
I naively assumed, when I was informed my second child was a boy, that he would be just like his older brother. Same parents, same genes, how different could two little boys be?
(I’ll pause for a moment ’til you stop laughing.)
While both healthy, and good sleepers, my oldest would constantly awaken in the night with one new, unidentified rash after another. Allergy testing and environmental adjustments left us with a diagnosis of “non-allergic eczema”. He’s almost outgrown it now, but as a toddler he would bloom with scaly, itchy skin in the middle of the night—a wet diaper, or a tiny bit of food left on his cheek could cause a painful flare-up. So many times I was administering calming lotions and ice packs at midnight just to get him back to sleep.
My second child ended up with asthma. I thought his brother’s rashes were bad! This was terrifying. Attacks came out of nowhere. The inhaler left him so hopped up on meds he could hardly look me in the eye, much less relax enough to sleep. Every cough brought on the fear that it was leading to the next attack. When he was sick—and that first winter it was often—I practically slept with his inhaler under my pillow.
How many nights have I fallen into a restless sleep only to be startled awake by the slightest noise from their rooms?
How many nights have I sat up in the wee small hours, cuddling a sick boy, smoothing hair from a hot forehead, or soothing his tears?
How many nights have I lain fretting over the unknown, assuming the worst, yet hoping I’m overreacting?
Have you ever wondered how God reacts when His children are suffering? Does God “sleep restlessly,” too? Are we constantly on His mind? Does His heart ache when He hears our cries of pain and worry?
If we are indeed made in the very image of God, then we have His emotional characteristics, too. This assures me that as much as we love and adore our children with emotions that are beyond words…God loves us ten times as much. A hundred times. More than we can even imagine…
I like to think that also means that sometimes, in the dead of night, He slips into our rooms just to kiss us goodnight and smell our hair.
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