Mar 4, 2009


The toddler in the house had a rough afternoon and screamed for a fair portion of it. He wanted up, he wanted down, he wanted food but wouldn't eat, he needed love but wouldn't cuddle, he needed attention when I was cooking dinner and my hips don't balance wiggly children was ugly.

Due in part to a half-crazed child, by 6:00 my mood was like a loose cannon, firing at will and recklessly at that. Food was served with haste; boys of all sizes snarfed it down and scrambled for cover.

The toddler was slightly appeased with spaghetti and salad and milk but remained inconsolable. I had only one thought: get this child in bed.

By the time the diaper was changed and pajamas wrestled on and humidifier tank refilled and furry friends obtained, the wailing could be heard for miles. I selected Goodnight, Moon from the library stack and read over the cries. I am nothing without routine.

When I reached the page that bids the moon goodnight, shuddering sobs were just little sniffles. When I closed the book and turned off the lamp and rocked the toddler in my arms, he relaxed and hugged his bear tighter. Though his back arched over the roundness of my belly, he was comfortable. Comforted. For a while we rocked in the darkness.

And then I sang our traditional bedtime song.

I am a child of God
And he has sent me here
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.

I paused. A catch in my throat. The toddler didn't get that today. Not from me, at least.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me
Help me find the way
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him someday.

Then, because we were both soothed by the music, I kept singing. And I became the child, pleading for help and direction.

I am a child of God
And so my needs are great
Help me to understand His word
Before it grows too late.

I am a child of God
Rich blessings are in store
If I but learn to do His will
I'll live with Him once more.

I am a child of God
His promises are sure
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.

Lead me, guide me, walk beside me
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with Him someday.

All that was wrong in the world disappeared as I stroked chubby arms, smelled spaghetti hair, and counted perfect toes. The baby within me kicked her big brother. The brother closed his eyes and breathed deeper, more rhythmically. I turned him so his head rested on my shoulder, his body cradled in my arms.

"I love you, baby," I whispered. "We'll do better tomorrow."

Hopefully we will.
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