It was late at night and my precious new baby was wide awake. When babies are this new, they sleep a lot, but she wasn't wanting to be asleep just then. I cuddled her up in a soft blanket and sat, quietly rocking her. I began to sing from my long list of lullabies. While some of my lullabies are the of the traditional Rock-a-bye Baby variety, most are primary songs or gentle hymns. After all these years, the words come automatically and I don't always think about the words I'm singing.
That night, though, I began singing these words,
"Jesus once was a little child,
a little child, like me.
And He was pure and meek and mild,
as a little child should be."
As I looked into her impossibly small face, I saw her eyes, wide and fixated on my face.
She was listening to every word, every sound. She was watching my every movement.
I sang the next words,
"So, little children, let's you and I
try to be like Him,
try, try, try!"
My voice caught as I, once again, remembered the magnitude of the job I was undertaking when I committed to bring this tender spirit into my life.
I automatically began the next song,
"Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear.
Things I would ask Him to tell me,
if He were here.
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea.
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me."
The role of mother is celestial. It is nothing short of the most important work I could ever do. The task is daunting, if you think about it in its entirety. But, of all the things I am asked to teach the girl, from making bread to using a drill to treating a burn, from speaking in public to helping a stranger to practicing honesty, from learning shapes to memorizing the times tables to capably writing an effective analogy, the most important thing I can teach her are the simple lines from a children's hymn:
Try to be like Him; try continually.
Tell her the stories Jesus would tell her, if He were here.
He shouldn't need to tell her the stories; that is the privileged role of mother.
What a sacred duty.
One that is an honor to perform.
I will do my best, sweet angel.