For whatever reason, Aaron and I had a long, random discussion of torture methods and which would be most effective at squeezing information from us, should we ever have sensitive information that was of interest to someone and be then captured by said someone. (?? Yes, I know - very random - and, incidentally, exactly how we knew we were right for each other. We are random on the same wavelength.) Aaron decided that, for him, it is a toss-up between two methods (which shall remain unnamed, just in case he is someday captured by someone!). My own mind returned to this conversation as I listened to constant wails of discontent, ill children this morning. For any mother, the ultimate torture is listening to children - or worse, babies! - crying, especially if they are her own.

Amelia's days of illness are now followed by the long days of recuperation and re-training that come hand and hand. "No, Amelia, you may not sleep alone upstairs with Mama every night from now on!" "No, Amelia, you may not sob for what you desire - please ask in a nice voice!" "No, Amelia, you may not poop and pee in your pants!" "No, Amelia, you may not wear your pajamas all day long." On the heels of such instruction comes the tender yearning of my mother heart, strings of which are played upon by the wan cheeks and hollow, dark eyes brought on by a week of sickness. Here is that difficulty, to find the sweet spot between tender love and stern love, that love that desires to bring this beautiful child to her full potential, not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.

This verse has always been a difficult one for me to absorb, although I've heard it since early in my childhood: chasten thy son while there is yet hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Proverbs 19:18) Today I am praying for patience as I reflect tender love, mercy, and grace from the face of my Father onto the upturned, tear-streaked cheeks of my children. The day to chasten will come. Today is a day for comfort.

And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me
~ Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel), Billy Joel