Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Owl Moon night

(Illustration Credit)

Caleb could not sleep tonight. 10pm and my three-and-a-half-year-old son was still up bouncing around in his bedroom.

Frustration quickly crept in around my heart.
Ok, I though. Two choices: Let this be one more "bad mommy" moment, or do something cool instead. Deep breath and grace poured in. Something cool.

I took the stairs quietly and flipped on the light in Caleb's room, meeting a wide-eyed, mischievous, red-head's curious gaze.

Caleb: "Hi!"
Me: "Hey."
Caleb: "I'm messing around."
Me: *laughs* "I know." Wanna go for a walk?"
Caleb: "What?"
Me: "Want to go for a walk outside?"
Caleb: "In the dark?"
Me: "Yep."
Caleb: *breathless and flushed* "Yes!"

And so we did. Coats, hats, scarves, mittens, boots pulled over footed pajamas, we bundled up against the February chill and walked out into the darkness. Two kids, eager to see the world in the light of a colder sun.

Growing up, this was pretty common for me. God bless my parents for their broad scope of mind, willingness to let me be a kid, and for allowing me to grow up in the country. I often wandered out under the winter moon. Books like "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen, which consequently, Caleb and I finished our evening off with, were real-life experiences in my childhood. But for Caleb this was all very new, and just a little scary.

Caleb: "Are we going far?"
Me: "No—just to the park." (Two blocks from our front door).
Caleb. "Ok. Could you carry me? Cuz I'm kinda nervous of the dark."
Me: "Of course."

We tramped across the crusty snow of our neighbors' sidewalks and crossed the street under the warm glow of the streetlights. We paused on the corner and examined the sky for any sign of the moon, which was absent, but found the stars instead.

Me: "Do you see the stars?"
Caleb: "I see them!"
Me: "Guess who made them."
Caleb: "God did."
Me: "Yep! And guess what else."
Caleb: "What?"
Me: "He made all the ones we can see up there shining so bright, and He made the ones that are too far away for us to see, and He gave them all names! Like, your name is Caleb, and my name is Mommy, and God gave all the stars names too!"
Caleb: *Impressed* "He gave them all names." *matter-of-fact* "Bright shining names."

We continued on through the park, talking in whispers ("So we don't wake the animals!") until we arrived in front of the capped and snow-filled fountain, now quiet. There we stood looking at the sky and stars and fountain for quite a while, talking about the what would happen when the snow melted and how fun it was to be out in the snow at night, just the two of us.

Gazing up, Caleb's profile was illuminated by the warm streetlamp, and he caught sight of his breath in the frosty air. So we breathed ice-breath into the sky for awhile, laughing quietly. Before long our eyelashes were frosty and our cheeks were cold. We left the park and headed for home, one big lumpy shadow cast out behind us—me and my boy, piggyback.

After all the winter garb was shed, I tucked Caleb in to bed, his cheeks still rosy. He grabbed my face between his hands and kissed me.

"I love you Mom!" He said emphatically, "And the stars are beautiful."

O, what I almost missed! What I almost missed by a single moment of self-focused frustration because my son would not sleep like clockwork! Instead, God showed me a miracle tonight—the glory of a dark night as seen for the first time through the eyes of my sleepless son. What a precious gift! There may have been no owl, and no moon, yet tonight was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful nights of my life.

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise. . .
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor." —Psalm 8: 1-5

Special note: My deepest thanks to my sweet and faithful friend Jenn, who dropped everything at 10:30pm and tramped over in the dark to be with my sleeping daughter tonight. You're beautiful.


  1. Simply beautiful Beth! It was just what I needed tonight to get things (and my parenting) back into perspective. Thank you for sharing this story!

  2. Once again another lovely glimpse of the Hautala's and of God's grace granted to us in the rough times.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Inspiring Beth! I love the story! Thank you for the reminder that I can "think outside the box" in these different (and frustrating) parenting situations... What a fabulous idea, and wonderful memory you made.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful. As our children grow, you have reminded me to look for such precious moments - too few and far between, unless inspired and acted upon. Thank you, friend! *sniff*

  5. Beth, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I wish the whole world could see the beauty in your thoughts and actions and the ways God inspires us that love Him to act in a different way than our first reaction which is of the world and yet how often we first take that route.
    You are so inspiring to all of us.