The Fatherhood Chronicles XCVII

Pater Noster

When a family is homeless one of the first things to go, or to maintain in any case, is routine, order, regularity.

One of the things I miss most during these last six weeks or so of geographical separation from my women is the quiet praying of the Our Father in the darkness of the girls’ bedroom with Delaina in her crib and Sofie in my lap.

Sofie wants, even needs, to be rocked before we lay her down in her “big girl bed” to go to sleep. I rock her for a few minutes, her head on my shoulder, her arms around my neck. Her feet and toes still wiggle a bit, but her breathing becomes slower, her grip becomes a little looser.

“Let’s say our prayers,” I whisper. And then, very quietly, I whisper the Our Father in her ear as we pray.

The Our Father is a communal prayer, and it knits me together with my daughters in a way that is presently sorely missed. I pray the Our Father on my own now, of course. But I’m so used to having my arms wrapped around my oldest while doing so that something seems missing.

After we finish praying the Our Father, I rock Sofie for several more minutes. She shifts from laying her head on my shoulder to laying across my lap, her head cradled in the crook of one arm. That’s my signal that she’s ready to lay down in her bed. So I lay her down and tuck her in, telling her “Good night” and that I love her.

I sign the cross over her and turn and sign the cross over Delaina sleeping in peace in her crib. Their angels will now continue their watchcare over my girls, as will the rest of the Lord’s messengers over our home.

Someday soon, this routine will be restored. And I will give thanks to our Father.

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