From the time that Katie was tiny, I would lie at her side every night for a few minutes in her darkened room before bed. Many times, it was was the very best time of the day.
She would pull up the sleeve of her nightgown and stick her little arm up in the air. On cue, I would begin long, slow tickles as I sang our medley of lullabies. Tora Lora Lora led to Lullaby and Goodnight which segued lazily into Hush Little Baby. But the best part of the ritual was yet to come.
In the tradition of my Grandma, we would do ‘a walk around the park.’ Starting with both index fingers at the point of her chin, I’d trace the outline of her face all the way to her hairline ~ Take a walk around the park ~ run my fingers lightly through her hair ~ Out into the meadow ~ slide one finger down the length of her nose ~Down the lane ~ and end by drawing a tight circle at the very tip ~ And ring the doorbell ~ and push gently ~ ding dong!
Then it was time for the very best part. We would take a deep breath, lie in the dark as still as we possibly could and listen for the angels.
When one of us heard them we’d shout to the other in a stage whisper, “I heard them!” We often came to that moment simultaneously. When one of us took a little longer than the other we’d lie in the dark, side by side and wait.
I wasn’t just pretending for Katie’s sake. I did hear something. When I was quiet enough, when, for that one fleeting moment, all the constant noise in my head gave way to the calming silence, I began to hear the soothing sound of blood pumping in my ears. Funny, but the rythmic whoosh whoosh whoosh sounded just like the gentle fluttering of wings. And, just as the angels would, the sound brought with it a sense of quiet comfort and peace.
In that precious moment of stillness every night, I heard the angels.
Yesterday, I read this post.
I e-mailed Carrie. She’s been on my mind this week as she’s responsible for (now another) brewing post. The other one is clunkier. It’s taking some time to piece together. It’s chewy, sticky. It’s making me think, work.
I asked her about the cards that she referred to in the post. I was curious. I’d never seen anything like them before. By way of explanation, she sent me this link. In the middle of the page were these words:
“Angels Are Inner Companions”
Over the past year or so, our bedtime rituals have shifted, morphed into something different. As they’ve been getting older, the girls have been heading up to bed later. Time has been limited. For the past few months, I have spent time with Katie first, typically playing a game or reading together. During that time, Luau hangs out with Brooke and they carry out their own pre-bedtime routine. Then we switch. I say goodnight to Katie and head into Brooke’s room. Luau comes in to put Katie to bed and Brooke and I begin our own well practiced ritual.
Which means that walks around the park and an outstretched arm awaiting tickles have fallen by the wayside. Along with those blessed moments of listening for the angels in the darkness.
Katie and I have been having trouble finding enough time together lately. I haven’t had an easy solution. I’ve been stretched thin.
The answer couldn’t have been more obvious today. Those words, glowing on my screen. ”Angels Are Inner Companions” They might as well have screamed, “Slow down and listen.”
I realized today just how much I’ve missed that quiet time with Katie. And with myself. And with my own version of the angels.
Tonight, I’m going to reinstate it. Even if it’s five extra minutes. I’ll find it.
As Carrie says, “No accidents.”