Last night, I cried while I stood next to Isaiah’s bed and he drifted off to sleep. I was feeling the weight of what it means to be a parent. Fretting over the lifelong implications of behavior patterns he establishes now. Sure that a rocky week in Kindergarten foretells teenage hooliganism, succumbing to peer pressure, and drunk driving.

Tonight, it was Isaiah’s turn to cry while he went to sleep…well, while he started to think about going to sleep anyway. Since the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, Isaiah was also distraught about Really Big Things. The questions and comments came fast and furious, his little brow furrowed and his little body restless:

  • “I’m just really sad because I’ll never be a dog and be able to curl up like a dog.”
  • “When people die, do they become dogs?”
  • “Why didn’t you and daddy make me a dog?”
  • “How did you and daddy make me?”
  • “Are there heroes in heaven?”
  • “Where do heroes live? Do heroes live in your heart?”
  • “If nobody gets hurt in heaven, are there heroes and ninjas?”
  • “Will I die when I’m twenty?”
  • “What happens when we die?”
  • “I just really wish I was a baby. I wish I never had a birthday.”
  • “I wish we had a baby.”
  • “I just really like dogs and cats and babies because they’re so cute. Kids aren’t cute. I wish I was never a kid.”

Golly, dude. I’m sorry. Nights like these, I stand there in the dark, stroking Isaiah’s back, singing a song (here’s our current favorite lullaby), and remember my dad coming into my bedroom, sitting by my bed, singing to me, urging me to stop thinking, to close my eyes, keep still, and let myself drift off to sleep. The baby books tell you that “sleep begets sleep.” And I’m pretty sure in those list of begats in the Bible, somewhere it says, “And insomnia begat insomnia.”


The album description of our lullaby (Stay Close) says: “Our journey with Jesus often contains stretches of doubt, alienation, and loneliness…This song is a petition to be renewed and for a rich sense of God’s immanence to remain during a difficult season.” I think somewhere, deep inside, I’m desperately hoping that Isaiah doesn’t battle the same demons of depression that I face…and that, if he does, the plea from this song will fuse to that depressed DNA that I passed along, giving him a fighting chance for peaceful nights.


2 thoughts on “bedtime

  1. this is beautiful

    and for what it’s worth – as a child of a severely depressed mother – I do think that the fact that I saw her fighting it so much and that she pushed against it made a big difference in me not battling it so much.

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