Sometimes at bedtime, we read old “baby” books that I’ve kept around to use as beginning readers (this is going well). One of these is My World, by Margaret Wise Brown. One of the pages shows the hero little bunny putting himself to sleep in his bed alone, with the caption, “I go to sleep when my story has been read, when my prayers are said, and when my head is sleepy on the pillow.”
This led to a discussion of what a prayer is; I told D is it a hope for someone you love. This doesn’t quite register yet, but he does like to make sure he says his prayers (if only as a delaying tactic).
We have been sleep-challenged this summer, at first due to losing two teeth in rapid succession, and now I think due to missing sleeping with us in the same room when we were in Las Vegas, or perhaps simply the summer light.
Often in the wee hours, D will appear in our room, and stand next to my head. I almost always know he’s there and I usually wake up and send him back to his bed, but lately I have been less disciplined about this (partly due to not being able to get up easily once asleep, as I am still recovering from the Great Golf Concussion of July 4th). So sometimes he will arrive in the pre-Midnight hours, complaining of aching legs, and sometimes later, near dawn, due to loneliness. It was during one of the Midnight sojourns that he discovered the sound of crickets, coming through the open window. It was a magical moment for him, and me, to lie there in the moonlight, listening to the tiny symphony.
5 years old and never heard a cricket, you say? How can this be? This is a sound he has never had the chance to hear, since we have to run the sound machine or air conditioner and close all the windows to (try to) keep him asleep. And our best intentions to get out camping with him have been, well…only intentions (where has the summer gone? …oh yeah, I started a business, got sick twice, got conked in the noggin, and remember those teeth? It was like having a 3-month old again!).
Recently I had a visit from him close to dawn, a silent time in our neighborhood. There was no breeze through the open window, and all was still. As we lie there in the twilight trying to get back to sleep, D said gently:
The crickets must have gone home for dinner.
Tonight we’ll be saying a prayer for all the living creatures in our world–the spider we transported back outside; the moles in the yard, our friends and family members…but we will say a special prayer for Uncle Eric, who is soldiering on on the hospital.
I’d been thinking about writing this blog post about prayers a couple weeks back when I remembered a great spiritual jazz tune that I listened to in labor called This Prayer, for the Whole World by Build an Ark. Strangely, I heard it on the local jazz radio station soon after…here it is.