Oh man, it’s only week two of RITUALS, and I’m already a weepy mess. Once again, we’re looking at those ordinary, not-so-boring rituals of our everyday lives that make the story deeper. And for my friend Ginger the words she’s whispered to each of her boys at the end of the day, every day of their young lives, CERTAINLY makes the story deeper. Enjoy, oh, enjoy.
My shoulders fell as I stared at the dirty pots and pans in front of me.
The rumble of brotherly wrestling from my older sons traveled down the hall. That wasn’t the sound of boys getting ready for bed. They didn’t seem the least bit tired, but I was exhausted.
Sigh. Maybe I should just tell them goodnight so I can cross this day off the calendar. They’ll understand.
My husband was deployed somewhere in the Middle East with the military, and I had spent a long day worrying about my Beloved while holding down the fort here at home. I couldn’t wait until I could crawl under my own covers and finally let this day fade away.
“Mommy, may you please snuggle with me?”
My youngest just looked so cute standing there in his dinosaur jammies, big brown eyes looking up at me. I love how he still mixes up his words sometimes, and I couldn’t say no.
Sure, Honey. Go brush your teeth and I’ll be right there…
The dishes would just have to wait.
I separated the big boys, sent them to finish getting ready for bed, and promised each one that, “Yes, I’ll come snuggle with you, too.”
I collapsed into our littlest’s bed, and he snuggled close as I put my arm around him.
We chatted about the things important to him that night: how “pokeypines” have quills, how spiders have eight eyes, and how a brother ate the last cookie. Then we prayed together, and I kissed his squishy cheek goodnight.
Quinn, do you know what?
“You love me.”
How did you know that’s what I was going to say?
He smiled and pulled the covers up to his dimpled chin. “Just because! I know you love me. Goodnight, Mommy.”
I’m so glad, Honey. I DO love you! Then I added the thing I’d said to them every night since they were born, To infinity… and beyond!
I walked across the hall to my middle son’s room. His freckled face beamed up at me from over a Wimpy Kid book.
“Mom, you’ve gotta read this part!”
We sat and laughed together as we followed the latest shenanigans of Greg and Rowley. He prayed his sweet little prayer, and then I gave the top of his crazy hair a smooch. “Blech!” he giggled as he wiped away my kiss.
I love you so much, Aiden. To infinity… and beyond! Our familiar bedtime phrase made him grin.
“I love you, too, Mom!”
My oldest son was humming along to the song playing in his headphones. I tousled his thick black hair aside and kissed his forehead.
Goodnight, Camden. Sleep well, Dude. I love you.
And I turned back toward the door. I left off our last phrase, guessing that he was getting too old for Toy Story humor. I usually tried to not embarrass him too much.
“Mom, can I talk to you about something?”
I recognized the hurt in his voice, and I realized that my little guy who wasn’t so little anymore needed me. Everything else faded away as I sat down beside him and he let me into his world. I listened as his thoughts, his fears, and his questions all came trickling out as he shared what was on his young heart.
I looked down at our feet as we talked, amazed to find that they were the same size. I wondered how I could have blinked and missed that he was not a little boy anymore. He had grown into a young man, but he would always be my baby.
I gathered him into my arms when a tear escaped down his cheek, and I held him. I don’t know how long we sat there, but after a while he looked up and gave me a hint of a smile. There’s my boy. He’s going to be okay.
I ruffled his hair once more, and hugged him close before turning out the light.
“Goodnight. Hey, Mom? I love you. To infinity… and beyond.”
Ginger is wife to her Beloved, mommy to three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas girl! Her Yellow Brick Road has led her through deep valleys of loneliness, betrayal, incredible heart ache, divorce, illness, and searching. She has also encountered the glorious paths of motherhood, friendship, rapture, butterflies – oh the butterflies, promise, hope, healing, new beginnings, and a love that she had never known possible. She would love to share with you how it came to exist in her very own not-so fairy tale at justoneoftheboys.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!