One evening about three years ago, I stumbled on a discovery about Boy Wonder.
Backstory: each day, he would come home from kindergarten, and I would gently pepper him with questions about his day. Being the boy that he is, he had other things on his mind. He gave me very little back, and it felt like he was sliding into a secret world at school that I would never fully understand.
On this particular evening, we were laying on his bed after a bedtime story.
He shared with me that one kid was making him sad at school, and how he liked a little girl named Anne. Many other details followed, and we had a long conversation about how he was feeling about things.
In the days, weeks, months and years that have followed, I have come to realize that this time – the time before he lays his head on his pillow and goes to sleep – is our sacred hour.
As he grows, the emotional complexities of an adult mind – putting walls up, manipulating, internalizing feelings – all slowly get dabbed onto Boy Wonder, like dots on an impressionistic painting. During the sacred hour, though, I am briefly allowed in to a quiet place where he is his truest self. This is the safe time of his day.
Perhaps it is the darkness, or the lulling cadence of a bedtime story, or just the hurried pace of school slowly slipping into yesterday that makes this time the sacred hour. I do not know, but I am grateful that I have it.
Sometimes, I struggle with waiting for the sacred hour. Sometimes, I want him to share with me on my schedule and not his own. Sometimes, there are days when I am not invited in at all. If I am distracted or stressed, the evening passes and Boy Wonder’s day gets tucked away into his heart without me knowing if he has been wronged, or overjoyed or scared in the hours he was apart from me.
The sacred hour is the most treasured part of my day as a parent. It is the tenderest of moments at an age where children pull away tenderness more and more every day.
But it is not just precious time, it is a belwether of our relationship.I believe that as long as the sacred hour exists between us, he is as safe and receptive to my positive influence as he can be. I know the moment the sacred hour goes away completely, something is wrong.
And so each night, before rushing out of his room to check my email or watch TV, I linger just a moment, waiting and listening to see if tonight is the night he has something to share. I am grateful that he trusts me, and pray that he always does.