There is this moment every night when every well-meaning parent looks in on their child sleeping soundly and whisper a short prayer of thanks or a well-meaning thought or hum a favorite lullaby, gently stroke the hair on their heads and kiss them goodnight.
On most nights, I look in on my daughter sleeping in her crib, tossing and turning, letting out a little whimper or a small laugh as if enjoying a nice dream, and I marvel at how truly great God is to have given me such a gift.
These moments are the times where our imaginations as parents roam as we think of all the possibilities that lie ahead for our children. We smile at the prospect of seeing them walk and talk, growing up and going to school, fending for themselves and finding their own friends, falling in love, choosing careers and walking down the aisles and seeing grandchildren walking up with them as they visit for a weekend. Oh how they will grow up so fast.
Then come the fears of how the world we live in will be just a little bit too much for our little ones. The pollution, the growing moral ineptitude , disease and disability, accidents and we shut our eyes and hold back tears as we drive these thoughts out of our minds. We will be fine.
Then come the prayer to Him who granted us this chance to be parents in the first place. That He watch over this little angel sleeping peacefully, so innocent, so full of hope and promise and as vibrant as all the little children whom He let come to Him even when he was burdened and tired.
Just like all the other well-meaning parents in the world, all these emotions wash over me each night looking at my daughter in deep slumber -- all the happiness, the fears, the tears, the joy, the excitement and the hope that we will be okay.
The hope that someday our little girl will tell us the same exact thing.
So I whisper to her just before fixing her pillows and kissing her good night, "I love you little girl, with all my heart. I thank the Lord each day for giving you and your mother to me. May you always have a reason to smile. Always be good. I'll see you when you wake up in the morning."