Bedtime Rituals


Sometimes the demands of parenting can be overwhelming, but the little rituals can really warm your heart as your children get older.

When our sons were young and it was time to get ready for bed, we would announce, “Time for jammies and teeth!”  They used to wear John’s old T-shirts as jammies.  They were soft and comfortable and fell to their knees or lower.  Now, all three sons have outgrown my husband’s tees.

For some reason, they liked to brush their teeth in our bathroom, not theirs.  So our sink was surrounded not only by our various accoutrements, but their three boyish toothbrushes and toothpaste as well.  John’s a TOM’S man…something one son has inherited but at the time their toothpaste sparkled and had various super heroes on the cover.  We wondered why they wouldn’t use their own sink…but understood that this was a sweet season that would pass all too quickly.  We enjoyed the chaos.

Once tucked in bed, we would bless them.  Every single night.  And they would bless us right back.

“The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make his face to shine upon you

And give you peace.”

Samuel initiated making the sign of the cross on the forehead at the beginning of the blessing and more than a decade later, the little ritual has stuck.

Often times, after blessing, one or more of our boys would ask to “snuggle”.  This was the crucial moment.  We would be exhausted.  Done.  Finished.  Ready for bed ourselves.  They would be ready to talk…share about their day, experiences, thoughts.  Precious moments.  Golden moments.

“Sure honey, we can snuggle” (pronounced schnuggle).

Sometimes, I would sing the blessing to them instead of speak it.  Sometimes I would make up lullabies and sing those to them as well.

The other night, I was talking with our oldest son over the phone – he’s on a Europe semester traveling all over the continent, experiencing so much but so far away.  As we were saying our goodbyes, I said, wait,

“The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make his face to shine upon you

And give you peace.”

I could feel his smile.

I am so happy at the moment.  My mother’s heart so full.  Our youngest, Luke, 16 years old, after blessing him tonight, began to sing the blessing to me.  I finished it up and then snuggled next to him and continued singing and humming to him– remembering the old lullabies from years past. He remembered.  He loved it.  I loved it.

Oh.  It all matters!

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