An hour ago, I was supposed to be writing this article. Instead, I was rocking my son to sleep. My husband even volunteered to put the kids to bed so that I could go write. (He knows this article was due more than a week ago!)
While he was feeding the baby, I decided to go and say “goodnight” to our two-year-old before settling down to write.
As I open the door, a soft little voice begs, “Mommy, rock you.” Two enormous dark brown eyes plead up at me as I bend over his crib. “Rock you in da big chair, p’eeze.” He’s only two—he still gets his pronouns mixed up. What article could be more important than a few quiet moments with my son?
His yearning little face transforms into elation as I reach out for him. He bounds up from his pillow, ragged stuffed ducky in one hand, favorite blanket in the other. Wiry toddler arms cling to me as we settle into the rocking chair.
“Mommy, sing p’eeze. Sing ‘little boat’ song.” And so I begin to rock in time with the rhythm of the lyrics. This is a new song; he’s just learning it this week.
He melts into me as the song and the rocking lull him toward sleep. Little hands twirl in my hair. “Sing da song again, p’eeze. Jesus in da little boat. Rock, rock, rock.” I sing it again. And again. And just when I think he’s fading, his baby voice warbles along with me.
When the song is over, I stroke his hair and kiss his cheek. He senses that I’m about to stand up and put him back in bed. His head pops up and one dimpled hand presses my shoulder back into the chair. “Rock you, Mama. Sing anudder song, p’eeze. Yes? Okay?”
His yearning for my presence, my companionship, is palpable. No matter how energetic and wiggly he may be all day long, at bedtime he just wants to be hugged. Snuggled. Secure. At peace in his little world.
Finally, I tear myself away and put him back in his bed. “Snuggle wif Mama? Cup uh water? Where’s ducky?” Any excuse he can think of to keep me there a few moments longer.
I tiptoe out, closing the door behind me. And suddenly I know what I want to write this article about.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3, ESV). Little children aren’t particularly complicated. They have simple wants, simple needs. They don’t get bogged down in the nuances of things; they aren’t yet jaded and numb.
At the end of a busy day, my son just wants time with me. He wants to know that I’m there, that I love him, that I’m not too busy to sit and rock him and sing him a song. He wants to hear my voice and feel my arms wrapped around him and listen as I whisper in his ear that I love him. He wants to hear me pray over him, asking God’s blessing on his boyish interests and inviting his angel to protect him through the night.
I can’t help but ask myself: When was the last time I had that same yearning for special time with my heavenly parent? How often do I ask God to stay just a few moments longer?
Sing to me, Jesus, through your nature and your birdsongs and your breathtaking sunsets. Hold me. Rock me. Intercede for me, even though I don’t deserve it.
The duties and responsibilities of mommying are not something I take lightly. It’s a huge job to be in charge of shaping the character of the next generation. But my son has no idea how much he also teaches me. Seeing his sweet longing reminds me of my own. And more than anything else, I never want to lose the yearning.