Monday, October 22, 2007

"When I Am Awake Late At Night"

Gentle Words
by Elizabeth Applebaum

I came across a black-and-white picture of a mother holding her baby. Below was this quote from author W. M. Thackeray: “Mother is the name for God on the lips and in the hearts of little children.”

… I think of this many times during the day, and always when my children seem to be most trying. It reminds me that what I say to each one of them matters. It reminds me that my praise will nourish them, and that a thoughtless comment can wound them for days. It reminds me that for this short time their father and I are the center of their universe.

I don’t want God to ignore me. I don’t want Him to be short-tempered with me, or impatient.… I need Him to hear my prayers, to watch over me, to comfort me when I ache and forgive me when I err. I don’t want God to leave me when I am awake late at night and cannot sleep and whisper into the silence, “I’m afraid.” That is when, most of all, I need Him to be there for me.

The other night Yitzhak, still wide awake at 10:15, crawled out of his little bed and walked into the den where I was resting. He was rubbing his hand across his eyes, coming fresh out of the dark into a room stained by the harsh lights of television.

It had been one of those days, and I had phone calls to return and floors to mop and laundry to put away and dishes to wash. Yitzhak said, “I’m afraid.”

“Come here,” I said.

Then I pulled him to me – his soft hair falling on my cheek, his warm legs resting against my own – and I held him close like that, making my arms a nest for his tiny body, deep into the night.

Reprinted from the newly-released One Baby Step at a Time: Seven Secrets of Jewish Motherhood (Urim) by Chana (Jenny) Weisberg. Available now at half-price through


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