I only remotely heard my youngest son (that’s Brigham, he’s 3yrs) come in the first time.
Faintly, through a fog of deep and very heavy sleep, I heard a little voice saying, “Mommy, I had a bad dream.” Actually, he doesn’t know what that means, but it is just as good of an excuse as any to come into our room at 2:03 am in the morning.
“Did you say a prayer?”, I heard Margie mumble.
“Ok, let’s say a prayer. Heavenly Father will help you sleep good.”
Then in quiet, sweet tones a simple prayer was offered and then little feet pitter-paddering out of our room and back down the hall.
I knew what was coming next, but hoped against hope that it wasn’t going to happen.
But, it was no use. Just as I was dipping back into my deep slumber, I heard those tiny feet sliding across soft carpet down the dark hallway.
You see, of all the lovely things we have taught our 3 year old, tucking himself in bed in the middle of the night is not one of them.
“Daddy, my bed is messed up. Will you help me?”
Knowing there was no use in fighting it, I rolled out of bed, making a mental note to myself to have that lesson on “tucking yourself in bed” first thing tomorrow morning.
As I reached out into the darkness for my son, I felt a precious, trusting hand already stretched out waiting… expecting… me to reach out to him. There was something in his simple and unwavering confidence in that act of reaching out to me that sent a thrill of excitement and pleasure through my whole frame.
“He believes in me! My boy, believes in me”, was the thought that flashed through my mind.
In a minute, I had him snugly tucked back in bed and before I got to the bedroom door he was sound asleep.
“I love you, Brigham”, I whispered softly into the night.
I couldn’t help but linger in the doorway a little longer. There was something magical about the glow of the soft night light as it gently illuminated his cubby cheeks and pure features. Enormous swells of love, and compassion, and care swept over me as I looked on.
I thought to myself, “I bet, in a way, this is how Heavenly Father must feel about us. He must thrill when we approach him. He must rejoice when we plead for help. He surely is elated when He can serve, bless and comfort us.”
And then another thought came to me. I realized that in raising this boy to the great man that he would someday become, he and God were working on raising me to greatness as well.
In that brief encounter with my son at 2:03 am, I had overcome impatience, my selfish desire for sleep, my frustrations at his inabilities, and petty thoughts of “why doesn’t Margie get up with him.”
Simultaneously, my patience, compassion, care, and love had deepened. In short, I had become a better man, father, and husband because my 3 year old son had a “bad dream” and reached out to his daddy for comfort.
As parents, while we raise these children to become great future men and women, we should never forget that they are in cohorts with God to raise greatness in us.
Is this family thing an amazing plan, or what?