All the parenting books say you need to get your kids into a bedtime routine.
So, we do a few things every night before we put Anson down in his crib.
Bath Time is most certainly Anson’s favorite.
Story Time is next: sometimes just one book and sometimes a few, but ALWAYS “Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears.”
Then songs: sometimes just one song and sometimes a few, but ALWAYS “With Anson in the Family, Happy Happy Home”
And always, before I put Anson down in his crib for the night, I say a prayer for him.
We all have dreams for our children. We know we want the best for them, and we want them to be the best they can be. That’s the big picture. But there are these little prayers:
“Tonight, my prayer for you is that you have good friends in life, the kind who look out for you.”
“Tonight, my prayer for you is that you always see the good in others, even when it isn’t easy.”
“Tonight, my prayer for you is that you like getting a little exercise.”
“Tonight, my prayer for you is that you learn to push yourself.”
“Tonight, my prayer for you is that you aren’t afraid of things you haven’t tried.”
And on and on.
Usually they just pop into my head as I’m putting him down, but there are some that are a little more profound.
Like how I want our son to know about his sister, and how I want her to be a part of his life, without him feeling like he has anything to live up to.
We have two very big pictures of Hudson hanging on the wall of our staircase. Anson is often fixated by his sister’s face as we walk up and down the stairs. I like to think he knows that face is important.
Next to the big recliner in our living room (where I have often nursed Anson since he was brand new), there is a picture of the skyline taken from Hudson’s Hole at Vet’s golf course. It was given to us by Grandma and Grandpa Dub on Hudson’s 1st birthday. Ever since Anson was a tiny baby, he locks in on that picture, cranes his neck to get it just right in his view. I like to think he knows that place is important.
I wear a necklace every day with Hudson’s name and birthstone. Sometimes when I’m holding Anson, he’ll get a look of intense concentration and grab at the little round part with her name on it. I like to think he knows that name is important.
While the pain of losing Hudson is pushed to a small corner of my heart to make room for all this crazy elated joy over watching her baby brother grow, I do still feel that pain. I’m glad that as a mother, I can see my son and share the experience of raising him with my husband and not be overwhelmed with the “What We’ve Missed”. And I guess that’s just one more prayer for my son:
“Tonight, my prayer for you is that you focus on all that you have in this life, instead of on the things you don’t.”
Because even though his big sister isn’t here for him to grow up with, she is a part of his life every day.