Bedtime. I am the one who usually puts Audrey to bed. Audrey is my 3 years old and she is non-stop chatter. She is quite the talker, (even in her sleep!) So even though she is a “big girl” now, I still rock her before bed so we can “talk.”
She will usually goof off at first to get the rest of the silly’s out of her. And then I will ask her, “who would you like to pray for tonight?” This began because one night at bedtime Audrey asked me, “where’s your Mommy?” And I wasn’t quite sure how to answer that to a 3 year old. So I told her that my Mommy was in Heaven. Of course, the next question was naturally, “what is Heaven?” So I said, Heaven is a great place. My Mommy is in Heaven with God.” and I inadvertently pointed up when I said this. I guess because we have a tendency to say that Heaven is above us somewhere. I mean there is no mailing address or PO Box. We know it as Heaven. And I am sure when each person thinks of Heaven, each person has a different picture in their head.
Anyway… after I said this to her, you can guess what her next question was “God? What’s God?”… This was getting complicated for a goodnight rock together. And I love how inquisitive she is. She really was very interested in this topic. I told her God was who made us. We are all here because of God; and, that Heaven was a wonderful safe place.
I decided then to say to her that I still am able to talk to my Mom by praying to her. So I asked her if she would like to start praying. Unfortunately she thought I said, PLAYING, so this of course was answered with an enthusiastic “YES! LET’S PLAY!” I needed an immediate redirect or this was going to go south quickly!!! I said, “not playing, honey… PRAYING. It is just like talking. We say who would we like to pray for before we go to bed. For example, Mommy says prayers for you, your sister and your Daddy.” She replied, “and Doo Doo?” (She cracks me up, Doo Doo is her Scooby Doo stuffed animal… he goes everywhere with her. He is a VIP.) So I answered, “well, OF COURSE Doo Doo!” (NOTE TO SELF: pray for Doo Doo tonight so I wasn’t a liar!)
I then explained then that after you pray you can also say what you’re thankful for. I told her how I was thankful for her, her sister and her daddy. I was thankful for my job and our house that keeps us safe. She seemed to understand this very quickly. “I thank you for my grapes, Mommy?” “Yes, you can be thankful for your grapes.” Again, it cracks me up what comes to a child's mind first. Earlier in the night she wanted grapes. However, there was a catch. She wanted them only in her blue teacup from her tea party set. She ate them only with her yellow tea party spoon. So in the grand scheme of things, it was actually sweet that she was thankful for her grapes, because she had such stringent requirements for the “grape-delivery” while she sat at her tea party table with her princess dress on and her princess-play-crown a-top her head. It warmed my heart to know “royalty” appreciated the grapes.
So finally I said to her, “you can also just talk to God. And sometimes I not only talk to God, sometimes I talk to my Mommy in Heaven because I miss her and I know she would have loved you so much, honey.” I got choked up as I said this to her because it was so true. It breaks my heart that my Mom didn’t get to meet and hold my babies. Oh how she would have loved them. And how they would have loved her. My mom was very lovable. I then said, “you were named after my Mommy, Audrey because I loved her that much and I love you that much. I am so thankful for you.” At this point I cried a little bit. So Audrey looked at me and said, “Mommy, are you sad?” she then wrapped her arms around me and proceeded to pat my back to comfort ME! She said, “its okay Mommy.” Ugh… a tug at the heart strings… I laughed-cried now. I couldn’t help but think that was my Mom’s way of talking back to me and my prayers/thoughts.
I went back to rocking her and asked if she was ready for bed. She said, “no Mommy. I have to pray.” So I said “ok, who would you like to pray for?” Her response was pray for?” Her response was immediate, “Aunt Sissy, Aunt B and the baby Carlee, Addie-bug and Doo Doo.” I asked if there was anyone else and she said, “oh yea… and Bert and Ernie.” (I guess on the episode of Sesame Street that she watched earlier in the day, Bert and Ernie must have needed some spiritual support of some sorts… Got to love this kid…)
I then said, “what are you thankful for honey?” and she said, “mommy, daddy, Addie-bug, Doo Doo, Patty (her blanket she named Patty…), gymnastics class and Dora. Again, Dora the Explorer also made “the cut” just as Bert and Ernie did… impressive…
Finally I said, “did you want to talk to God or to your Grandmom?” and she was quiet. So I said, “its okay. Are you ready for bed now honey?” and she said “yup.” So I carried her over to her bed and tucked her in “snug as a bug in a rug” and told her I loved her. Before I walked out she said, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Your Mommy’s in heaven? So she’s up in the sky.” and she pointed up. “night night Mommy.” It was almost as if she was saying that Mom was watching over her and for some reason, again, Audrey was comforting me. What a great feeling knowing my children are being watched over by my Mom. I am very thankful for this.