It is one of the greatest feelings as a Mama, to know that snuggling with my children puts them at complete ease and helps them fall into deep sleep. I know the days are limited when they will ask “Mama, will you snuggle with me?” It surprises me that I still have the privilege and honor, being beckoned in the evening by my six-year old girl and eight-year old boy. A time will come, I tell myself, when their doors will be closed and they will prefer to retreat into their own world, by themselves. And that will be okay; they will be on the road to complete independence (at least that’s what I keep telling myself). But for now I soak up every second and minute of snuggle time that they ask for. Our lives are so fleeting. What a gift to just snuggle and hold each other in our arms. What a gift to still get to sit on the couch before bedtime and read books to them. What a gift to sit between the two of them, with a giant pile of library books on my lap, reading the titles aloud and giving them options of what books catch their fancy. To then hold the books upright on my lap, each of them taking turns flipping through, flicking one book forward at a time, perusing the choices, carefully examining the cover illustrations, title and font choice all as possible predictors of whether the story will be one they enjoy or not…..talk about the complete opposite of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Ha! Here, nightly, books are indeed judged by their covers. What a treat it is, to sit snuggled between the two of them, reading books aloud to them. They love it. I love it.
Then off to bed they go. I tuck each of them in, singing “Jesus Loves Me” and saying prayers together; prayers of thanks as well as holding up people in prayer before our Lord. As of recently Jacob now sings or hums the harmony while I sing the melody. For the past 8 years, each night as we’ve tucked him into bed, we’ve sung to him “Jesus Loves Me”. We’ve done this ever since he was a wee little baby. If I calculate 8 years x 365 nights/year of singing this, we’ve sung this 2,920 times to him thus far (minus some missed nights here or there for extenuating circumstances)! Wow, I didn’t even fully realize the sheer quantity of times we’ve sung this song. These words are so simple and yet carry such profoundly deep truth. I pray that these words are deep in his thoughts and that the truth of Jesus’ love for him, is at the core of his understanding of who he is and how truly valuable he is. Within the past weeks when he started singing harmony, I was amazed. He can hear/visualize the notes I sing and then sing other decorative notes that complement and add to the ones I’m singing. What a fun new stage of bedtime tuck-in’s. I can only imagine that he has been carefully studying and listening to our worship team at church, hearing how they sing melody and harmony and how beautiful it all sounds together.
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The bible tells me so
Natalie’s approach to the song is different. She loves to add in sounds at the rests. After I sing each line, she adds in a note or two, sometimes serious and sometimes silly, sometimes understandable in words, other times just audible sounds. She loves to anticipate the rests and jump in at that very moment with her own sounds to add. Her timing is impeccable; always ready to jump in at the perfect moment of rest and always the perfect note length before I start in on the next line. She is such a hoot! She’s my silly, funny, zany one. She makes me laugh and smile. Oh my word, the other night she started us in on a massive tickle fest. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard from being tickled in a really, really, really, really long time. Her tiny squirmy fingers could just find the perfect sized pockets of space between my arms that I was using to shield my neck, and began to tickle me like crazy. I completely lost it in laughter. She didn’t relent and I kept laughing. She thought it was the most hilarious thing ever that she was able to unarm me and get me that delirious with laughter. That was a precious moment- we had never had a tickle fest before and she indeed won!
So tonight like usual, they both asked if I would lay next to them and just snuggle for a few minutes. So I did. Natalie loves to fall asleep lying on her left side. Jacob loves to fall asleep lying on his right side. They both face the wall and I lie there next to them with my arm over them. I don’t know what it is about having Mama lie next to them, if it’s a subconscious return to feeling/hearing their Mama’s beating heart from when they were being formed in my womb, or if it’s just the warmth that comes from being next to someone, or hearing my steady breath….but whatever it is, it is suuuuuuuuch a joy to feel them relax and just fall into sleep. There is comfort there for them; a sweet repose in their mama’s arms. Oh just like when they were little babies, I can tell when they fall asleep because all of a sudden they get super heavy. It’s as if there whole body just lets go and they become heavy like a sack of potatoes. Sometimes there’s super short random twitches of a leg or an arm- that’s when I know they’re already in deep, deep sleep.
What a joy. I love getting to snuggle with my kiddos. They are such lovable kids. I’m so thankful that for those few minutes, everything in life stands still. They find peace and contentment in my arm’s embrace and I get to just hold them, quietly pray for their future and lift them up before our Lord, thinking of who they are becoming and expectant to see what plans the Lord will have for them.