He asked me to lay with him at bedtime. Our oldest boy who comes just below my chin and appears as if he’s been pulled by a taffy machine the eve before.
We laid on our backs, he grabbed my right hand, draped it across his chest, rubbed the back of my palm, and in that moment, I saw him as a man. A husband rubbing his wife’s arm, talking before falling asleep. This curly-haired boy who wants nothing to do with “getting married.” I saw a glimpse of who he will be and the tender capacity he has for deep love.
Any question, I told him. It’s your time. What’s on your mind?
This is one of my favorite times of the day. When we snuggle like sardines, stare at the ceiling and open up space for whatever is on his mind. No questions or thoughts are off limits.
I wasn’t expecting what he asked.
“I’ll ask you what you always ask us: when are you most alive?”
Something about his softness and desire to connect brought tears. And I paused a moment to place his question with my head before responding.
How do I feel alive?
How do I feel alive?
How do you feel alive?
I shared and we sat in silence and I asked how I could pray for him.
“Whatever you want.”
Well then, I’ll end our night with a clean, zippy prayer.
But as I prayed, hot tears melted into my ears and I found myself embarrassed, crying when talking with our sweet Lord.
Tanner, rubbed my arm, urging me on, then turned, “Why are you crying?”
These moments with our kids are holy. But gosh, many days my impatience dictates our collective moods. I lose my temper or choose a screen over their eyes or an adult face first, and here I am laying with our oldest feeling the sacred simple joy of knowing these are the moments I will most miss.
So when my boys ask, when yours ask, “Will you lay with me for a few minutes?”
Yes. Yes. A thousand yeses.
I’ll listen and rub your back.
I’ll pray and I may cry.
I will tuck these moments inside forever and pull them out on the days you’re laying with your own babes, praying over them, crying sweet tears at how fast they are growing, and you’ll look back on tonight and know my tears are for now, but they are also saved up for you many nights from now, as well.
And I’ll know this is when I feel most alive.