After a full day of hammock play, and indoor play, lunch out and no nap, bed time was physically welcome to one almost four-year-old little girl. Even though her little brother had a nap (two, even!) he was still really ready, too. We ushered it in with our routine, the same ritual I always use when I’m around: bath, cuddles, books, songs and a whisper of “I love you…sweet dreams.”

Brody has taken to quietly laying his head on your shoulder, but not right on your shoulder. He drops it forward a bit so he can tuck his chin and hug straight in, just above the breast. It seems to be he own method of hugging, and he doesn’t just do it when he’s tired. He’ll stop sometimes and just do it out of the blue. However, I’ve only seen him do it with his parents, until yesterday, when he started doing it with me.

It was precious.

But at bedtime, he was sweet-smelling and fresh, with damp hair and clean jammies. I picked him up and held him face to face. He was all smiles, then he very thoughtfully brought his left hand up to my left cheek and pressed his palm against it, holding it there and just looking into my eyes. Then, as if he didn’t already own me in that moment, he dropped his hand straight down to my left arm, and tucked his head to my chest, in what appeared to be a real hug. I kissed the top of his soft hair and inhaled the goodness of him, giving thanks from a heart of mush.

I’ve always told all the kids that they were my favorite “their-name-goes-here.” Yesterday, I randomly said, “Honey, you’re my favorite Lilli in the whole wide world,” several times, since I tend to really emote the first day their around (and the 27th day, too, and really, every day in between…). Later, her brother already down for the night, Lilli had chosen her books and gotten her blanket and purple pony and climbed up in the rocker with me. We were about half way through Harold and the Purple Crayon, when she quietly turned around and said,

Mimmie, you’re my favorite Mimmie in the whole wide world. I love you, big as the sky.”

(She may have heard that last part from me, too, 1 or 100,000 times.)

I found myself also kissing the top of her soft curls, then she turned herself to face me. Curling up in the same spot against my chest as her brother, and though she was getting a little leggy in that chair, she willed herself to fit. We rocked there for a moment lost in quiet reflection.

I thought about how precious my name is in the mouth of that child, and how, even though her brother can’t yet utter it, he still spoke it – held it – with his hands. They say it with such a love, an adoration that I don’t deserve, but is so freely given to me. I smiled when I thought of how like Christ they are, and how He holds my name on His tongue and speaks it the same way. No wonder He tells us to be like little children.

I crawled into bed last night with a heart filled with little girl proclamations of love, and a tiny hand print still warm on my cheek.

Contented sleep came swiftly.


“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. ” Isaiah 43:1 ESV

Grandchildren are the crown of grandparents…” Proverbs 17:6 GW

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” Matthew 18:2-5 MSG