Every night, before I go to bed, I make my rounds through each of the bedrooms.
Careful to go unnoticed, I tuck and wrap, rearrange little heads and reposition little legs. The chubby baby arms and legs that dangle through the crib slats always get me most.
I bend down low and lay my cheek close to theirs. The methodical sound of their deep rest is so comforting. At the end of hard days, I need this sort of affirmation.
Because it is dark and quiet, I can allow the tears to fall. The day's end is full of exhaustion and the remembering is sometimes overwhelming.
Will they forget my shortcomings? The harsh words or cutting glances?
Will they remember that I praised their efforts and genuinely enjoyed their presence?
So my tears turn to prayer and I am once again begging for grace to fill in the gaps.
These nighttime rituals have been a part of my life for over 14 years. At times I stop at their doorways and with my eyes closed, I visit the day where that room is void of childhood slumber.
I can hardly conjure up the image, but even the glimpse is breathtaking.
And the grace? I thank God it is sufficient.