Every night during tuck-ins, the kids and I would pray. Sometimes I would pray and they would say “Amen”; some nights they would repeat a prayer after me. A while ago, I invited the children to pray for me and Fatherkao.
This was what transpired…
Ben: Dear Lord, I pray that you protect my Mama and Dada from harm and danger. Keep them safe. Amen.
Me: Thank you, Ben. I say ‘Amen’ too.
Nat: Dear God, make my Mama eat a lot. So she can be fat.
Me: Ugh! Nat! Did you just ask God to make me fat? Why?
Nat: If she eat a lot, she will grow and grow so she can be as tall as Dada. Amen.
Me: Mama doesn’t want to be fat, Nat!
Becks: Dear Lord, make my daddy strong. Give him a strong back. And make my Mama not angry so she won’t be angry with us. Amen.
Me: That’s nice, Becks. You know Dada’s back has been acting up, and Mama’s patience has been running low every day, huh? Thank you for your prayer.
And then a loud wail happened…
Nat: *crying loudly*
Me: Why are you crying?
Nat: Why you like Becky’s prayer and korkor‘s prayer but you don’t like mine??? WAAAAAA!
That night, a selfish mother happened. I had heard my youngest child’s words of prayer but not listened to his heart. In his world, my four-year-old saw that his mother was smaller in size than his father and felt that she should be as grown as he was, and went on to pray that his mother – his world, his everything – would never be at a disadvantage in size, ever.
After all, she was the centre of his universe.
Out of the mouths of babes.
Out of a gentle heart and the kindest spirit, Nat prayed. For me.
That night, I held him tight and thanked him for his prayer.
That night, apart from needing to smack myself in the head, I thanked God that I received from all three of my children who’s made me everything in their world, and that I received most from my littlest whose heart has remained so pure he just genuinely wanted his mother to eat well and grow.
May I learn to be a mother who listens and not judge, and one who receives when her children give.