8:25 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19
After prayers were said - "Now I lay me down to sleep" - and I read half of "The Five Chinese Brothers," to my four-year-old, she requested that we say one of our "special" prayers.
Sharing a pillow, we faced each other and she started:
And we went on, with her leading the way:
"I will obey tomorrow. I will listen to my teachers tomorrow. I will pay attention tomorrow. I will go to ballet tomorrow. I will obey all my teachers tomorrow. Thank you God. I love you God. Amen."
I was too proud of my daughter, who'd gotten in a bit of trouble earlier in the day for disobeying at school. After I explained to her that it was extremely important to keep promises made to God, she surprised me again:
"Mommy," she said, laying on her back and looking up at the ceiling, "I wish I could give God a kiss."
"You can," I said. "Just close your eyes and blow God a kiss." I demonstrated by kissing my hand and raising it up toward the sky. She did the same, but was not quite satisfied.
"I wish I could give God a hug," she added.
Thank the Lord that my quick thinking and lifelong religious teachings didn't fail me.
"You can, baby," I said. "God is inside of everybody. So God is inside of you. If you give yourself a hug, then you're giving God a hug."
She loved this idea and squeezed her little self so hard, I thought I was going to have to rescue her.
I got the same squeeze before I bid her goodnight. But she stopped me. She had one more gift for the One above.
"Mommy, I wish I could give God a cookie."
Quick thinking didn't save me here.
"We'll have to think about that one," I said, trying to banish the image of leaving cookies for Santa from my head. She nodded and slipped under her covers, as she shared one more thought:
"I love you, Mommy."
"I love you, too, baby."
I know...I know...this is so sweet it's cavity producing.
Right now she's in there doing her nightly play-in-the-bed routine. The rule is that she doesn't have to go to sleep, but her feet cannot touch the floor. So there's singing, shrieking, play-acting, talking, rolling and often wall-beating.
She just transitioned from some Cuban song she's learning as part of her school's upcoming International Day to "We Had a Great Day," by Nick Jr.'s Fresh Beat Band.
Dear God, I love my creative child. Thank you God. I love you God. Amen.