“Thank you for Cheeses”
As the girls get older, we get away from some of the nighttime activities from when they were younger.
Now it can be be a drive-by “Lights off at 10:00, love you” to end the day.
We have a lot of friend who have little ones at home and conversations with them remind me of the times when we had little ones and the rituals we had. and so here is my walk down memory lane…
Bedtime prayers are perhaps the most honest part of the day. It is hard to believe how that the sweet little angel snuggled down on her pillow is same little rat who tried to get another cookie after dinner by conveniently “forgetting” that she had already eaten four. The beautiful jewel trailing a wake of strawberry scented shampoo and bubble bath behind her as she hops into bed is the same girl who only 15 minutes before thought it was appropriate to try and push the dog down the laundry chute. But I guess that is the paradox that makes us all human.
There are, however, nights when the stars align and all is well at bedtime and it can be the sweetest time of all. At our house, bedtime prayers are more interactive than introspective.
“Macie, honey, are you ready to say your prayers with Daddy?”
“Then go ahead.”
“You start Daddy.”
“Ok, uhm,…Dear God.” It often takes me a minute to get warmed up.
By the time I have moved through all my preambles and stuttering, Macie has tired of the waiting and decides the best thing would be for her to jump on in. “God, thank you for everything in the whole world. Amen”
I think, “Well, that that about covers it.” How do you follow a prayer like that? Frankly, anything I added would just be redundant.
Before I open my mouth to follow her all-encompassing statement, I open my eyes to peek and see Macie looking the March 2003 “Precious Memories” statue. She is sitting there a perfect angel. She is propped up on her pillow, with her feet tucked underneath her legs, the almost dry from the bath brown hair cascading over her pink and white PJ’s and her eyes are tightly closed.
Well, the left eye is tightly closed. The right eye is wedged open a teensy little sliver, just enough for me to see the hint of her hazel brown eyes. She is looking intently, impatiently at me. After all, she has just prayed for everything in the whole world.
“Daddy “she whispers as she gestures toward the ceiling with her clenched praying hands. “They’re waiting on you.”
McKenzie likes to do her nighttime praying and talking with the two of us snuggled up in the “prayer chair.” The prayer chair is an oversized pea-green chair that sits upstairs at our house. Some nights we’ll just hunker down in the chair and talk about friends and life and soccer. Other nights we’ll make up stories or be silly. Some nights, we earnestly get ready to talk with God.
On one of those earnest nights, when she was just maybe three, right before bedtime at the end of a busy day, we settled down in the chair ready to pray. And we prayed…. and prayed…and prayed. When Kenzie got going God got a run down of everyone we knew or had ever heard of.
“Dear God, thank you for Mommy and Daddy. Thank you for my sisters, and our toys. And for Nana and Papa, and for Grandma and Pop-Pop. Thank you for the sun and the moon and the stars. And for our car, and for milk, and my cereal, and cookies, and books, and the floor, and the walls, and Miss Jennifer, and for Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Steve and….”
I think you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong; it really was sweet and humbling reminder of the thankfulness we should all have. But frankly it did get a bit uh, lengthy.
One night, as I was struggling to stay awake as we were ending up our verbal prayer walk around all the toys and books in the playroom, I could tell she was about to wrap it up and we were headed for home….”and most of all…God…. most of all…thank you for cheeses. Amen.”
What? After this masterful prayer where we named two-by two all of the animals that went into Noah’s ark the concluding thought was that we ended up thanking the creator of the universe for what she felt was the most wonderful thing in the whole world, dairy products!
“Uh, McKenzie… not to question your prayer, but honey, you said ‘and most of all, thank you for cheeses.’”
“What, uh, why are you the most thankful for cheeses? Cheese is good and we all like pizza and grilled cheese, and cheese puffs but why you are the most thankful for cheeses?”
“Daddy, aren’t you?”
“Well, no, honey. I’m not.”
With that, McKenzie became very concerned and as earnest as a tow-headed three-year-old can be. “Daddy, He is the King of the whole world.”
“Daddy, he was born in the manger.”
“Huh??? I don’t know what you’re taking about.”
“He is God’s son, Cheeses. That is who I am most thankful for.”
Oh….”I think you mean to say Jesus, who is God’s son. His name is Jesus, not ‘Cheeses.”
And so I sat there in the prayer-chair, thinking that I had just imparted to my daughter one of the great tenets and truths of life, that the name of God’s only son is Jesus, not Cheeses.
“Oh you’re right Daddy. His name is Jesus. I am the most thankful for Jesus.”
And then she gave me a quick smile, headed off to her bed, hopped right in, laid down her sweet head and waited anxiously for me to tuck her in.
“Good night sweet heart.”
“Good night Daddy.”
I waited for a few minutes and watched her as she drifted quickly off to sleep.
Sitting there on the edge of her bed, next to a sleeping angel, I realized that more often than I would be glad to admit, I am more thankful for the things in my life, whether they be cars, or friends, or cheeses, than I am for Jesus.