At the end of the day, after my boys don’t listen when it’s time to get out of the tub and they don’t listen when I tell them to put their pajamas on and they don’t listen when I tell them to brush their teeth and they don’t listen when I tell them to go to the bathroom, I turn off the light and turn on the fan and kneel down next to my youngest son’s bed.
“Just one book,” he asks, and because he is the third child, and because we’re way behind on our letters and words, probably because I’ve said no with tired eyes so many nights, I sigh and sigh.
“Fine, but a short one,” and I can hear him getting farther behind on his letters because we’re only reading the same short books he has memorized, but it’s late and I have tired eyes. When he was just a little bit smaller, I’d cradle and rock him, singing, “Rock a bye, baby, in the tree top…” and “Rock me, mama, like a wagon wheel…” and he’d slow blink asleep.
Lately he’s been choosing a board book called Fish Kisses. For every page there’s a different animal and its way of showing affection– fishes kiss, puppies nuzzle, polar bears snuggle, caterpillars tickle, etc.–and for every page, we kiss and nuzzle and snuggle and tickle, and then giggle, because here we are together, the bedtime routine wars forgotten for tonight, nothing but delight and singing between us.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.