I lay with one eye peeking. His eyes are closed, his little body curled up next to mine. Little puffs of sleepy breath hit my neck and I wonder:
How is it that this sweet, sleeping mass was only five minutes ago screaming, crying, kicking? I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't watched the whole thing unfold in front of me. And similarly, in myself, how can I go from feeling nothing but anger to nothing but affection in those five minutes?
It was not one of my best moments - raising my voice at a two-year old and plopping him none-so-gently back on his bed. I stormed out and stopped, staring blankly at the piano with hands on my hips...deep breath...I really need to dust this piano, I thought to myself...I prayed he would choose not to come back out of his room for the fifteenth, no twentieth time...but he did...I repeated the entire sequence a few more times, my voice getting louder each time.
Finally, he stayed in his bed. Not because he wanted to, but because he knew it was no use. Or perhaps because he had gotten enough reaction out of me to satisfy. Either way, he stayed put. But I knew it was not over.
Eyes closed, I heard the small, strong voice and left the computer screen for the now-quiet battlefield.
When I turned the corner into his room, I found him buried under stuffed animals, his breath still hiccups. His arms reached for me and I reached for him, pulled him close.
"I'm sorry," I whispered, hating the number of times I will have to say this over the next decade. Or five. "Sorry I yelled."
He kept his fingers busy with Snoopy's ears, flopping the old fur back and forth. "It's okay," he said. But I knew it wasn't. I pressed him. "Will you forgive me?" He smiled a smile framed in red licorice residue. "I 'give you, Mama." I took it at face value - forgiveness, and smiled back.
So, I laid my head back, accepted his forgiveness, and Someone else's too. Then, I curled on the airplane comforter next to my favorite toddler and sang a song, his favorite. Something I had sung a million times, words that are silly - "Punkin' Noodle" - and true - "Mama loves you, Papa loves you, but most of all, Jesus loves you."
I savored that last line for him, knowing it is only Christ's love that can do what Mama - or any earthly parent, for that matter - cannot. And I prayed that last line too, my hand on his shoulder, praying for a man's heart that might beat for Jesus.
Slowly, I rose up on my elbows and peeked at his sleeping face. I need to wash this too, I resolved. Then, marveling at his sweet sleep, I thanked God for yet another song. His to me, and mine to another, all a chorus of forgiveness and restoration today.
Resting in Him and the Songs He Gives,