- 19 August, 2013
- 4 Comments
by Karyn Thurston
My alarm goes off for the first time around 1am. On a good night, I’ve been asleep for an hour or two – on most nights, I’ve only just closed my eyes. Without regard for the length of my day, you begin to stir and grunt and make impatient puppy noises on the other end of the monitor. I watch you squirm around on your tiny screen, your eyes glinting in the infrared like a fiercely helpless wild thing, a baby coyote on the side of a highway, something equal parts wonderfully precious and ominously inconvenient.
We do this dance nightly, you and I, and I count minutes and whisper disciplined prayers and cling to wakefulness while you eat and fuss and eat and bounce and rage and, finally, sleep. Some midnights, I inventory eyelashes and imagine patterns in floorboards, any small task to fight off the desperate desire to drift off on the couch and risk your helpless tumble from my lax and unforgivable arms. Better nights, I think of disciples on hillsides, and a God-man who asks for only their company, and twelve sets of heavy eyelids and the body’s stubborn inability to wait. I wonder, as my shoulders slump and my legs fail at my own sacred, precious task, if there is anyway I might have been the one who waited, who stayed awake with deeply spiritual wide open eyeballs and waited on the Lord. I doubt it, somehow.
“Parenting is a crash course in patience,” says everyone, ever, who has met a child, but no one warns you that your body might fail you before your mind. Sometimes, in these nighttimes, patience is a physical discipline – it’s mind and body and Holy Spirit working in tedious tandem, eat and fuss and eat and bounce and rage and sleep. Sometimes, I know it is something bigger and blessed within me that moves my limbs through diaper changes and other mundane tasks – a questionably lowly calling for the presence of the God of the universe, to rock precious tiny you through the longest and darkest of nights. But you have a God who chose to package the knowledge of heaven in fragile human flesh, who inhabits humble hearts, and who waits with me as I wait with you.
And I will, wait with you – through this night and a hundred others, as many as it takes to see you safely well-loved and grown-gone. Because somewhere there nestled in that sacred space where love and commitment meet each other is the quietest, most essential promise: I will wait for you.
Through this tantrum, I will wait.
Until you are sleeping, until the morning, as you are growing, as long as you are, I will wait.
When you ask too many questions and spill too many things and try my last frazzled nerve, I will wait for you.
While you wander, I will wait.
Through your doubts and your rages, I will wait.
Through silence and separation, I wait for you.
Beyond time, into always, I wait for you.
As He has waited, as He waits, with me.
Karyn Thurston is full time mom to baby Fable and wife to her favorite, Noel. She blogs, knits, rants, and schemes regularly at www.girlofcardigan.com.