I probably shouldn't continue to give further and further evidence of my oddities, of which there are plenty for sure. But I suppose I would have very little to say if I only mentioned my more "normal" moments, so there's that. Here's today's weirdness: I realized recently that I have a little bit of a strange obsession with tucking my kids in at night.
"Well, that's not that weird," you may think. No, for real. It's weird. Because for some reason, I can't just do it once and be done with it. First, I go and tuck them in as soon as they're ready for bed. You know the drill: Make sure the doors and windows are locked. Make sure they have enough blankets. Turn the big lights off and the little lights on. Pray. Hugs. Smooches on all 4 cheeks and 2 foreheads. That sort of thing. And then as I'm walking out the bedroom door to close it behind me, we try to see who can be the last one to say "I Love You." (Macy always yells it one last time after the door is closed, which I treasure more than she knows.) At this point, the girls are all set. They're happy and cozy and likely to drift off to peaceful sleep in just a few minutes. I literally do this every single night we're in the same house together. I can't sleep if I don't.
After this, my husband and I usually stay up for at least a couple more hours. (Okay, who am I kidding? More like 4 or 5. Who needs sleep anyway?) But no matter how long the girls have already been peacefully sleeping, I can't go to sleep myself until I have gone one more time into their room for that last little "tuck in" and prayer before I lay down my own head.
I wonder how much longer they'll let me do this. They're 10 and 12! It's not like they can't put themselves to bed. But I'm finding these days that tucking them in has much more to do with securing the edges of life than the edges of blankets. It's about hemming in those flailing moments of uncertainty with solid places to land and rest from time to time.
This is easier said than done, to be sure. But maybe that's why I'm so adamant about taking every chance I possibly can to get it right. One more prayer that I'll say the right things when the hard stuff comes. One more hug and kiss and smile to help them understand how much I love them. One more moment of giggling together. One more opportunity to build trust just by "being there" with them. One more chance to do something right in raising them. One more chance. I always need one more chance. Thank God it comes every day.
I wrestle with the tangle of paths they face — we face — each day. I can't hem them in completely. I know this. But surely I am responsible for building hedges of safety. I can help re-route around dangerous areas. I can illuminate the dark corners and shed light on areas where they insist on further investigation, all the while allowing them to form their own identities and learn to embrace truth for themselves.
Shudder. Can I really do this? Let them make their own decisions? Let them investigate the scary stuff? Let them learn a few things the hard way?
This is terrifying! I can't do it. I can't. At least not without the promises of a sovereign God, who loves them more than I ever could.
And so, what I think I'm learning through all of this is that the reason I crave that last little moment in my day so much — one last prayer over my sweet girls and maybe one more little "tuck" — is that it's in this moment that God tucks in the edges of my heart.
Do y'all know these edges? The ones that are flayed open to be destroyed by the tiniest thought of any harm that might come to your children? I don't even mean the really bad stuff. It could be as simple as worrying that someone might hurt their feelings tomorrow. Does that thought have the power to destroy the edges of your heart? It does mine. I need those edges tucked in. Every single night. By my Comforter and my Keeper and certainly the Keeper of my children as well.
Thank you, Lord, for loving them better than I ever will! And thank you for securing my heart every night as I secure blankets. Maybe my girls won't outgrow their need to be tucked in. It doesn't seem their mother has.