I tucked in my little seven-year-old girl last night in her bed in her bedroom. She had a night light. She had her music. She had her baby doll that she had to have for Christmas. She had the most important item of all: her blanket. We were all lying down in our beds and sleep had begun to descend on us when I feel a light tap on my arm. I opened my eyes and the unmistakable voice of my baby girl wakes me up:
“I can’t sleep.”
We tried to get her to her bed a few more times; the next thing I knew it’s late and school comes in the morning so guess who makes her bed next to mine, gets tucked in, and sleeps soundly? This happens so much in our house that our three grown children complain that she has gotten the princess treatment.
Perhaps she has, I reason with them. But I do distinctly remember all three of them on the floor in our room many weekends. Three a night in our room = three nights with one seven-year-old. I’ve won the fight of reason, albeit barely.
I’ve watched all three of the older ones grow – the first two have already left home and the signs of the third one leaving are already there. The truth of the nest becoming emptier are all around me and still my little one remains with me for a while.
It’s been some years since I left home to marry my husband. I remember all of the activity surrounding the events of our courtship, engagement and then wedding. There was a shower, presents, dress fittings, florist visits, and rehearsals to tend to. My mom, she went to be with the Lord in September 2008, was busy with preparations and invitations. As time for the wedding drew close, we were like ships passing in the night as she worked and I was going to school and working. We didn’t have much time to connect.
The night of the rehearsal dinner came and went. Afterwards, we all went home to try to get some sleep. Nervous, I checked my dress, rechecked it and made sure my shoes were still where I placed them in the closet. In finally fell into a light sleep after some nervous hours. In the middle of the night as I was dozing, I saw a light turn on in the hallway and the unmistakable silhouette of my mother enter my room. I laid there as she put her hands on my shoulder and prayed for me and cried, wiping tears as she asked for the Lord’s blessing. After some time, she tucked me in for one last time and left the room.
My eyes are now drawn to the little bed on the floor. Mom’s prayers have carried me for many years and have touched all my children and landing on bonus baby number four. For now, I think I’ll keep working on tucking her in in her room but when she needs to come and have mom and dad scare the bad dreams away in our room I’ll be happy to pray for her and remember the last time mama tucked me in.
She will spread her wings soon enough. Until then? Come here sweet one, mama is here.