Always Real, Faith, Makes Me Sigh


The other night, in the wee small hours of the morning, I tiptoed into Sean’s room to check on him. I’m way beyond the days of checking on him 3 or 4 or 20 times a night to see if he is still breathing as I did those first several months of his life. Yet sometimes, something invisible gently stirs me into wakefulness and calls me to his room in the middle of the night to look at him.

Sure enough all was well. His little boy form, bathed in the amber glow of the nightlight lay peaceful and motionless.

As I turned to leave, I heard him whisper, “Mommy, will you lay down with me?”

“Sean, I didn’t know you were awake. Why are you awake?”

“Will you?” he pleaded with a desperate catch in his voice, “Will you please lay down with me? For a little while?”

“Sure” I said. “Move over.”

And so he did.

I should say here, that the bed Sean sleeps in is not really a big boy bed or even a youth bed. It is basically a crib six inches off the ground. It is so tiny it is straight out of The Three Bears and I am Goldilocks. If I contort myself just right I can snuggle up with him in this tiny bed. If I lay there much longer than 20 minutes, I can’t feel any of my limbs or walk upright the next day, but it’s a small price to pay, temporarily paralysis in exchange for snuggling.

I wedged myself in beside him. With his head tucked under my chin, he squirmed and squiggled and shifted until he had sufficiently pressed his bony backside into my tummy, just as he did in the days that I carried him in my body. He reached around for my hand and pulled it across him like a belt and then he wove his fingers between mine.

“Here’s the church,” he yawned. “Here’s the steeple….”

And then he gave up, too tired to continue.

Then, with his other hand, he covered our interlaced fingers. It struck me as an odd thing for a four-year-old to do. It was an old man sort of thing to do, this nestling of my hand, like a bird, into his two small hands.

 In the thinning morning darkness, I watched him stroke and pet our clasped hands as he drifted back to sleep. I flashed upon that day in 2003 when I first saw his hands on the sonogram – tiny, shaky, translucent fingers reaching for the light of this world and then shielding his eyes from the harshness of it.

I thought of how those little hands reached out for me as he took his first unsteady steps. I wondered how many more times he will seek my hand. Before he won’t. Dear God, bless me, that I might always be there to hold his hand and steady him as he goes, for as long as he needs me.

Then I flashed forward to the appointed day when that one clear call is for me. And on that day, it will be my shaky, translucent fingers that reach for the light of the next world and then shield my eyes from the glory of it. Dear God, bless me, that he might be there to hold my hand and steady me as I go into that great goodnight.

In that moment, and just for that moment, I felt as though I understood something of eternity.

Finally his hands stopped moving. He had fallen back to sleep. I slowly extricated myself from the tiny boy and the tiny bed. I stood over him for a moment, praying over him, that goodness and mercy will surely follow him all the days of his life.

I never tire of looking at him.

I hobbled back to bed.

The Original Perfect Post Awards – Jan 08

111 thoughts on “Hands

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one crying! My children (7 & 11) both would have me sleep with them every night. You’ve made me rethink being irritated by it!

  2. I will never tire of reading what you write. I tend away from the emotional, but you have a way of putting things that leaves me no choice. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder of why I shouldn’t go kill my 3 crazy kids for destroying my bathroom with water….

  3. Saw you on the Perfect Post and want you to know that is the most sweet and powerful post I’ve seen lately.

    We were actually talking about our kids the other day and how we shouldn’t take advantage of when they want to cuddle with us because unfortunately one day they will feel they are ‘too old’ for that and how we should just love it now.

  4. Amazing. You two give such a prophetic image, and your son put it to words. “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple.” We are God’s children and need to be that intimate with Him as you are with your son. It’s amazing!

  5. I know it is almost a year later since this was posted. I just found your blog. This sums it all up. You are a wonderful, insiteful and so blessed mom. I feel like I was holding his little hand with you and I know so much of how you felt.

  6. I have just recently found your blog. You have an exceptional way with words and I cannot wait to keep reading your posts. Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment in your life. It reminds me that I need to take more time for those sweet moments and really enjoy them because they won’t last forever.

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