An open letter....
The other night I was coming upstairs to bed at an unseemly late hour and as I was walking by your bedroom door I noticed you standing there. I'm pretty sure you were sleepwalking as I said your name and got no response. A few moments later, you beelined into my bedroom, without a word, and climbed the ladder into my bed. Being that it was already two in the morning, and I thought you were sleepwalking, and I was feeling kind of lazy, I just left you there and climbed in beside you.
It was quite possibly the worst mistake I've ever made in my life, and let me tell you, Boy, that I have made zillions and zillions of terrible mistakes in my life. And no, that doesn't count the perm I got in the eighth grade.
Years and years ago, Precious Boy, my mom and I took you to an Easter church service. Back in the day we were religious folk, and on Easter weekend we had four separate church services to go to on all four days of the holiday from school.
You were but a few months old and we were in my favorite church with my favorite pastor, one who swayed and prayed and and sang his heart out unto the Lord with fervor. His services were always beautiful.
At the beginning of the service, you were sleeping. When you awoke, you seemed like you might start to cry and so I took you to the back of the church and I held you and rocked you and your beautiful self fell asleep in my arms. The church was candle lit and all the stained glass windows were aglow. The congregation was singing, led by the pastor, and for some reason the music at that service was particularly moving.
I went back to our pew once I was sure you were asleep, but I wasn't ready to put you down in your car seat. Instead, I held you for the rest of the nighttime service and looked down at your angelic, sleeping face.
It was that night, with such a lovely baby in my arms, surrounded by music and love, my family, the congregation, that I truly felt God's presence in my life. My whole heart filled with joy and wonder, and my entire being felt light with the possibilities that awaited me in this world. It was an entirely holy experience and I'm not sure if it had to do with you, or me, or God, but either way, it was a way that I'd like to feel again and again and again.
So, the other night, you were sleeping and I was barely making off with my life under the constant attack from your kicks, punches, moans, and tooth grinding. I thought for sure that come morning, you would be wonderfully rested and I would have two black eyes and a broken rib. Maybe even two or three broken ribs.
My room was moonlit at that point and I could hardly make out your thrashing figure. I was deciding if I should carry you back to your bed or if I should give up on sleep and go to your bed, when you rolled to face me.
In the moments that followed, I have to say that I felt as though I were in a prayer. It was was prayer of thanks and joy and everything that a prayer to God should be.
As you rolled over to face me, your arms flying through the air like missiles, I purposely didn't get out of the way. And I'm not sure how, but your right hand ended up on my right cheek and your left hand ended up on my left cheek and we lay there in silence with your fingertips touching my cheekbones, facing each other. I could make out your sweet, angelic face on the comfort of my flannel pillow case and for those moments, I would trade anything in this world to experience them again and again and again. We were wrapped up in the warmth and comfort of sheets washed in Downy, and your fingers were not sticky or sweaty or clammy. They were perfect against my face, long and grown but still with a layer of baby fat on them that makes them even more precious to me.
I wished at that moment that I was the type who brought her camera to bed with her, because I would have loved to get a snapshot of you sleeping perfectly, your breath low and even, beside me.
I thought for a few seconds about all the terror and horror that goes on in this world. It is the terror and horror that makes me think that I should only really pray about the most important things, because God has so much on His plate right now that He really shouldn't be concerned about the mild desires of an aspiring fruit farmer.
But for those few moments, those very precious moments in my life, I hoped that God was looking down on CowTown at that second, so that He could see us, Aunty with a Y and her nephew, warm and cozy and safe. Wrapped up in a prayer, feeling joy and hope and wonder. Joyful, hopeful, and wonderful are ways I haven't felt in a fairly long time.
It's moments like these that I'm sure that God has a camera with Him everywhere He is, and its moments like these that make me want to be a particularly good person, so that one day I may get to Heaven, and God will share with me these snapshots of perfection and wonder, so that I can look back on my life and know that even if it is pretty rough now and then, waves of perfection and wonder will still come through and make everything ok.
All my love,