Saturday, December 17, 2022
Most every night when the boys were growing up, we would say prayers together. They would do whatever cleaning up and brushing teeth and eventually each one would crawl under his sheets. Saying prayers and singing songs at the end of their days was my favorite mothering of Brogan and Sam – well that and coaching baseball, but that’s another story.
Of course, some nights went smoother than others. Truth be told, some nights prayers probably didn’t happen. But most every night, the boys and I would say prayers together. They shared the same room until Brogan was 10 or so. The practice grew-up with them, shifting and adapting to fit the three of us, individually and together.
When they were little-little we would talk about their days and then say the Lord’s Prayer and sing a couple songs with the guitar (Christopher Robin, Jenny the Flying Girl). When Brogan started going to kindergarten, I was really nosey about how his day went and his answer was “fine” or “ok,” so we added another piece to our ritual: `best thing and hardest thing.’ Each of us would take turns saying what the best thing was of their days and also what their hardest things were.
This was such a good practice for me. Often, when it was my turn, I would say that that time with them was the best part of my day – and it was. `Best and hardest’ was a way to bless each day. It grew into being a chance to pay attention. A way to mark each of our moments and then to share them with each other. In the midst and mess of whatever was going on in the world outside of our house, this nightly practice became a way to breathe-in just how precious this time was with my sons. We sang spirituals and goofy songs and songs I’d learned at camp. Through those years, we often ebbed and flowed together.
Best things and hardest things of the day grew up with the three of us. Sometimes our conversations were funny, sometimes they were tender. Sometimes they shared something really sad that a friend had said or done that day that had hurt their feelings. And that was so hard for me. I reassured myself that I was helping them say good and hard things out loud, but sometimes the tenderness of those sharing’s broke my heart.
One night somewhere along the way after we’d checked in with prayers and were gonna start singing, Sam said something like, “Lelley, why don’t we say what we are hoping for, too?” And in that moment, time stopped. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Of course! What a great idea! Broadening our stories with each other, opening our stories to what could yet be was truly a life-gift. Thanks to Sam, our practice opened just a bit wider. By adding that practice of saying our hopeful thing, right away I didn’t worry so much about them being in the midst and the mess of the world. Here at the end of the day they were able to talk about the good and hard things. We were leaning in and listening. And each night, thanks to a little child leading us, we were welcomed into hope, into seeing something better.
Thanks to Ed and Deb (aka Amy) for today's picture.