Tonight I lean in an in an exaggerated whisper, I say, "Do you know what I want for you more than anything else?"
She nods, confident hazel eyes looking into mine. "Love."
I smile. I hadn't expected that answer, but it works. "And where do you get love?"
She was ready for this one, too. "God. Because God is love."
I nod. "More than anything else, I want you to know God and love Him, and to understand who you are because you believe in Him and trust Him." She smiles, snuggles in for another kiss, and curls up for sleep.
"Mama? Come check on me every twenty minutes and give me a kiss. You can make it every thirty if you want, but I prefer twenty." My little negotiator. I promise, because how can I not? These days are fleeting, when she will willingly take and give cuddles, when the love flows effortlessly between mother and daughter. Even now, at the age of five, our days can get contentious as she pushes for independence in areas where I want to insist on obedience.
But tonight, the shadows are sacred, and love is a language we speak easily. I turn off the light and breathe a prayer. May it always be thus.