Sometimes putting my baby to sleep can be the greatest test in patience. Last night was one of those nights.
She had barely slept all day, so I knew that bedtime would be early, and maybe have some tears. But, to my delight, she went to sleep quite quickly, and I was able to continue unpacking boxes, or just sit for a minute to myself.
30 minutes later, however, the baby monitor began to scream, alarming us of Aevri’s awakening. Sighing, I got up from my activity that I’d been waiting all day to accomplish, to go and soothe my baby who needed to just sleep already. Ear-piercing shrieks jolted me back to mommie-hood as I picked her up, but she was inconsolable. Tears streamed down both sides of her face, as she literally screamed for the next 5 minutes. She began working herself into such a frenzy, that it began to sound rhythmic and I was pretty sure she was hypnotizing herself.
After changing her diaper, the screaming continued for a time, and then subsided as I took her outside for a moment. The cool air cascaded around us both, reminding us that there were other realities in the world. But I really needed to get back to what I was doing before, so I returned to her crib.
My second attempt to put her down lasted quite awhile, with me swaying, bouncing, singing. After sometime, it looked like it was working, and so I went to lay her down, being careful of every movement. As I lay her in her crib, my knee cracked. You know when your bones crack, and it’s not a big deal – well, when you’re trying to put a baby down, it’s equivalent to shattering glass. Her eyes flew open, and the whimpering began to build.. Here we go again…
So by the third attempt, I’m exasperated – which isn’t very relaxing energy to be trying to put a baby to sleep. I return to the medicine ball (which is a great tool to help put a baby to sleep as you gently bounce on it). At first I begin thinking about all the things I could be doing and that need to get done. But then something changed.
I began to sing the song “Be Still and Know that I am God…”. As I sang it over and over, I began to realize I was singing this to my soul, and my baby just happened to be the witness. As the lyrics descended around me, I began to ask myself, “why am I in such a hurry? And for what? These will be the moments I long to relive one day. So be still. Be present. Open your eyes. Open your heart. Savor this moment. Life is more than doing. Sometimes life is about Being.”
As I watched my daughters eyes begin to become heavy and lull into dreamland, and the lyrics continued to cascade around my impatient soul, I realized something else: As I was holding my daughter in her restlessness, I needed God to hold me in my restlessness. That in this moment, as I let go of my agendas, as I became aware that the highest purpose of this moment was to stop, be still, and be present – and that this was the most sacred thing I could be doing. To know that something bigger was holding me, and I could rest in that. And in that knowledge, peace began to seep into my being
She finally eased into a deep, peaceful, sleep. And I realized once again, that parenting is sometimes more for us than it is for our kids. That moments like this in parenting are the moments that we are brought back to our true selves, our true purpose in life, and the fact that peace is more about a personal choice than we realize. I also was reminded that sacred moments surround us every day, and we usually miss them due to our supposed need to accomplish some task, or check something off our to-do list. Maybe the most sacred thing we can do is to be still and know – and hold those closest to us as they cry or laugh or live or die. And when we get to that place, peace is there waiting for us.
So today, regardless of what is happening in your world, make a choice to stop for a moment. Be still. Let the One that is greater than you and the circumstances you face, hold you, cradle you, sing over you, and whisper peace and grace into your life. And join me in this mantra “Be Still and Know…”