My three-year-old is not – has never been – a good sleeper. Even the most generous grandma can’t call her a good sleeper. Sometimes, I don’t even think “sleep” explains what she does at night.

She has made me appreciate the philosophy that sleep is a skill that’s learned.

She has also given me more insight into my spiritual life.

Because, often, I’m not sure “faithful” explains what I do with my life.

I have promised God a few things, practices that I hope will keep me faithful. And then, wouldn’t you know it, I neglect them. I sometimes fail or fall short, but that’s just part of accepting the shortcomings before me and keeping myself coming back. It’s when I neglect – purposefully diverting my attention, willfully ignoring what I should be doing – that I think God must want to reach down and slap me.

Last night was yet another night of ups and downs – I was up with one daughter, down to sleep, up with the other daughter, down to sleep, and on. At some point in my sleep-drunk state, I realized something: I have a choice. I can savor this time of sacrificing sleep and cuddling small people, or I can begrudge the sleep I’m not getting. I can offer this time to God (free of charge) and focus my gaze heavenward (which is where it should be anyway!), or I can complain in my head about what a tough lot I have with this three-year-old insomniac.

There were graces floating around the dim rooms last night, because, for once, I wasn’t complaining in my head, or sighing loudly (on the off chance that my husband would hear and feel badly for me), or feeling even a little resentful about the ups and downs of the night. Last night, when the three-year-old came in to ask me to tuck her back in, I noticed how, when I laid down with her, she rested her head in the crook of my armpit. As her hair tickled my cheek, I smiled. She was asking if, in the morning, she could have “chocker nerk and some juice, please.”

And, for a moment, time paused. There I was, squeezed on the edge of a twin-sized bed, holding a child who’s growing up in leaps and bounds, given the chance to be a hero. Does God feel this way when I let go of my pride and ask him to help me through the night? Does God smile as I did when I slow down long enough to nestle in his armpit and thank him for holding me?

Yeah, I think he does. Otherwise, he wouldn’t tell us to call him Abba (Daddy).

So, today, I’m going to remember that Daddy’s watching. I’m going to strive, ever more, to be faithful and true, to live the life I want to talk about, to be the person he’s asking me to be.