If it’s true that the devil is in the details, then the devil is in our attitudes. But if God is in the details, then God is in her eyelashes.
Every day is different at our house, but every night is the same. No matter how many times she and I have argued or shouted at each other or stormed out of a room or stomped away, we still end the day together.
The timing is the variable, but the routine is the constant. I nag at her to finish her supper. She argues that it’s gross, or she’s full, or it looks funny. I tell her two or seven times to brush her teeth. I remind her to pee. I remind her to sit on the potty long enough to pee for real. I hold up two outfits for her to choose from for school the next day. She doesn’t like either one, so I hold up two more. She chooses a different one altogether. She needs a drink of water, she needs to kiss her sister, she needs to hug her bubby, she needs to fix her blankets, she needs to go pee. By the time she is actually horizontal, my patience is tissue paper thin, and she has blown past the edge of sanity and is pedaling in the air like Wiley Coyote in the seconds before he realizes he’s about to fall. And fall she does. I didn’t tuck her in the right way, the blankets are scratchy, one of the blinds is out of place, she can’t find her soft Bunny, and she needs to go pee.
Then, finally then, after the yelling and stomping and crying and falling off the cliff, we lay side by side in the quiet darkness, and we heal the day.
“I’m sorry that I stomped at you, Mommy,” she confesses. “I’m sorry I yelled that you were being ridiculous,” I offer. She tells me that all she needs to make her happy is a Mommy hug, and I tell her that all I need is to kiss her nose. She asks me, every night, without fail, to sing “Baby, Mine,” and I do. I could ask her to pick a different one, I could tell her no, I could complain that I am tired and I still have two more kids to put in bed, and two more loads of laundry and two more hours before I can lay down, but instead, I sing.
“Paint my face, Mommy,” she requests in her quiet nighttime voice. I trail my fingers across her forehead as I sing a prayer Disney didn’t know it was writing- I sing the gospel truth to my baby girl.
Baby mine, don’t you cry. Baby mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart, Never to part, baby of mine.
Little one, when you play, Don’t you mind what they say.
Let your eyes sparkle and shine, Never a tear, baby of mine.
If they knew sweet little you, They’d end up loving you too.
All those same people who scold you, What they’d give just for the right to hold you.
From your head down to your toes, You’re not much, goodness knows.
But, you’re so precious to me, Sweet as can be, baby of mine.
In the soft blue moonlight that dances with the light from the yellow streetlamp, I memorize her profile. I paint her face with my fingers, tracing her hairline and her ears and that tiny dip below her nose. This “painting” is how she and her sister prefer to fall asleep each night.
Her wide forehead is a lovely canvas. My fingers dance down off the tip of her ski-slope nose. That nose is a gift from me, even though I’d secretly hoped she would inherit my husband’s straight one. When she was born, her daddy said she had “rosebud lips,” and a mouth that belonged to his sister. Her chin and jawline are courtesy of my mother’s mother’s family. The cheeks that are still baby-chubby?She has come by them honestly from both of her parents. But her eyebrows, perfect, expressive arcs that are finally at rest after the excitement of the day, are all her own. Her eyelashes, long and soft brown and just barely resting on her freckle-dusted cheeks, are God’s most gracious creation. Some days, those eyelashes are the easiest thing to love about my fierce and fight-ful daughter. Some days, it is all I can do to get to this point of peace- lying beside my lastborn, studying the gentle curves of her face, seeing in it both the baby she was six years ago, and the young woman she’ll be six years from now.
I sing to her, and I feel the warm weight of her snuggled next to me, this little girl who has somehow stretched to half my height. I think about the words of her favorite lullaby, and how they are echoes of God’s words.
Stay close to me, my child, don’t worry what the rest of the world says- you are precious to me. If they could see what I see in you- what I created in you- they’d understand that you are exactly who I made you to be.
Again and again, after long days full of joy and fear, excitement and anger, anticipation and confusion, loudness and lots of laughter, I find rest and peace here next to her. After her prayers, I sing, and after I sing, I pray. Here in the still and in the quiet, God is in the details.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Peter 1:18
…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.