Thursday, June 12, 2008

nap time

Ella, my almost-three-year-old has been rebelling against the afternoon nap these past several months. I was dismayed at first, as that hour or so of quietness while the girls slept gave me just a little time to get done house work or have a little reading/rest time with Juden. While caring for and nurturing three little ones all day, those little breaks also just helped me keep my sanity and patience. I was even more dismayed when each night at dinnertime, Ella would set into a overtired whining that didn't cease till bedtime. In my desperate attempt to cling to that hour with one child instead of three, we have developed a new routine.
Ella now sleeps in a big girl bed which happens to be a full size bed someone gave us, and I might add she looks like a pea-sized little princess in it. I somewhat reluctantly decide to lie with her and push aside the thoughts of all the other responsibilities that are piling up. I figure that if I sing to her and rub her back, surely she'll drift off and I can get back to my housework and one-on-one time with Juden. So there we lie while she fidgets and squirms and rearranges her bears and lambs and I'm patiently hoping she'll remember how tuckered out she is and how oh-so-comfy her bed is. I glance around her bright, feminine, little girly room, and I think it's nice just to have these few moments to slow down. My eyes stop on this painting that my dad painted.
The painting is full of tranquility and simplicity. A couple in a canoe, a man reading on a park bench, a family feeding the ducks. The brush strokes are soft and muted. I look at the scene through his eyes and I wonder, is it England? Have we been there? Everything about it is so...him, and I miss him. I wonder why I'm missing him again so much lately. Was it when I was sitting behind the girl who gently leaned her head on her father's shoulder during church and I felt that ache in my heart. Was it sitting outside last night and watching the strange sky before the storm? I've always loved to watch storms- all the green-grey light, the noise and power of them. Remembering the thrill of summer thunderstorms when I was little, sitting on his lap with his big arms around me. Maybe it's the fear of the sound of his voice growing fainter. Maybe it's Father's Day coming up, or maybe it's marveling at these little grandchildren of his that I wish he could see.

My eyes close as the thoughts pass and I feel a restless Ella's soft little fingertips tracing my lips and brushing across my eyelashes, and I think to myself, at least one of us is being lulled to sleep. My thoughts turn to how ridiculously much I love this little bug. I love the dimple on just her right cheek, how funny she looks with her crocs always inevitably on the wrong feet, how she talks out of a side ways mouth. Heaven help me the day someone makes her cry, or teases her. Maybe some day she'll question where her worth is. Maybe she'll wonder if she's skinny enough or smart enough, or if the guys she's dating is right for her. Maybe she'll fall prey to messages of false securities. Maybe she'll doubt what she believes. Lord, give me grace for those times but for now I bathe this little one in prayers of strength, purity, wisdom, and love for this precious daughter. May she always be held by your grace. While my sleepy prayers give way I realize the desired result has come to pass... at least for a few minutes.