Mother’s Little Angel
by Norman Rockwell
Courtesy of imagekind
I inadvertently began a nightly ritual when my firstborn son was a baby which has continued with some changes to this day. Before going to bed for the night, I would check on him to make sure everything was all right, watch the rise and fall of his chest for a few moments, perhaps even lay a hand on his back or chest to reassure myself he was breathing and he was all right. I expanded my rounds with each new child. As they grew, I would smile at their tousled hair and and relaxed sprawl and pull the covers back up to their shoulders.
Some time during the teen years they began closing their bedroom doors at night, but there was still a settled feeling knowing everyone was home, safely tucked in for the night. When they became active in their youth group or started working outside the home, I don’t think I ever went to bed before they came home. I may have fallen asleep on the couch, but I couldn’t rest easily until I heard them come in.
But the days came and then multiplied when they didn’t come home for the night, and passing by their empty bedrooms caused a bit of a pang to the heart. First sleepovers for a night, then camp for a week, then mission trips with the youth group for several days more, then working away from home for a whole summer, then going to college for a whole semester. The day will come when they will have their own homes, and these beds will remain empty except for brief visits. I’ll no longer be able to check on them at night or to know that they are safely tucked in, or to go to bed with that settled feeling that all is well for another night.
But I can entrust them to the One who never sleeps, who watched over the wandering Jacob when he left his home and guided him on his way. They will be beyond my sight and care, but never His. His power to keep both body and soul has always been beyond mine, but whereas for over two decades I have been able to watch over them and see that they are fine, soon I will have to walk by faith and not by sight in this aspect of life as well as all others.
And so my nightly ritual will change. Instead of going room by room in my house until I am settled in my own, I can pray for each child in my heart, trusting Him to keep a watchful, loving eye on us all.
(Updated to add: I put these thoughts in poem form here.)