The safety gate clanks and little feet march down carpeted hall in footed pj’s. He casts an indignant look through sleepy half open eyes when he enters the lamp light of my room.
“Sleep. Bed.” He states firmly, tongue curving around passy securely lodged in his mouth.
Up come Blankie and Coca on the momentum his little arm can muster, landing next to my hip. He launches up, firmly planting himself at my side. “Tickle. Jesus. Jesus?” His chubby little hand runs lightly up and down my arm, punctuated with a little pat.
Hours ago he fell asleep at my side in the dark of my room to the hum of traffic on the street below. After his big brother and big sister were tucked into bed he was transferred to his own little nest in the corner of their room. He never stays there all night. He has claimed my bed as his own. Ever since the side of his crib was removed to transform into a tiny three sided bed. Ever since he was given freedom to climb in and out as he pleased.
“Jesus? Pease?” His sleepy little voice crackles sweetly. I sing. I lightly scratch his back, “tickle” he calles it.
“Jesus, Jesus, Je-sus, there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Je-sus; Let all Heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and Kingdoms will all pass away. But there’s just something about that name.”
He burrows in, bum in the air, knees tucked under, feet crossed.
I don’t sleep when my baby is in bed with me. Something about watching his little back rise and fall, and his lashes brushing cheeks, something about reassuring myself that he’s here, he’s real. Something about soaking in every precious moment.
I don’t mind the missing hours of sleep. Experience says this precious season only lasts fleeting seconds…
His capricious smile after a fit of 2-year-old frustration, his enthusiastic friendliness that lights up the face of those lucky enough to be bequeathed a wave and a “hello” as he passes them, the proud little smirk of understanding that he just did something pleasing… the tight squeezes and wet kisses, the launched fists and pouty lips… the glee and wonder at mundane life all new and amazing to him… just fleeting seconds of now.
My first babe convinced me I had parenting down perfectly. My second convinced me I knew nothing about parenting. My third is teaching me none of it matters as much as soaking up each amazing gift of these seconds that evaporate into memories more quickly than I can blink.
“Jesus? Tickle?” His raspy, sleep drenched whisper rises.
I sing softly and marvel. “Jesus, Jesus, Je-sus...”
Patience is the softly woven cloth of the hours spent in the service of another when no return was received, and it wraps our children in the barrier that will cling to them all their life long, provide comfort in storms, guidance in trials, and gifts for them to offer in unlikely and life-changing relationships. Like the finest silk and purest cashmere, patience is the garment that lends the ability to be truly captivating.