listening for the angels (alternatively titled 'no accidents ~ part one)


From the time that Katie was tiny, I would lie at her side every night for a few minutes in her darkened room before bed. Many times, it was was the very best time of the day.

She would pull up the sleeve of her nightgown and stick her little arm up in the air. On cue, I would begin long, slow tickles as I sang our medley of lullabies. Tora Lora Lora led to Lullaby and Goodnight which segued lazily into Hush Little Baby. But the best part of the ritual was yet to come.

In the tradition of my Grandma, we would do ‘a walk around the park.’ Starting with both index fingers at the point of her chin, I’d trace the outline of her face all the way to her hairline ~ Take a walk around the park ~ run my fingers lightly through her hair ~ Out into the meadow ~ slide one finger down the length of her nose ~Down the lane ~ and end by drawing a tight circle at the very tip ~ And ring the doorbell ~ and push gently ~ ding dong!

Then it was time for the very best part. We would take a deep breath, lie in the dark as still as we possibly could and listen for the angels.

When one of us heard them we’d shout to the other in a stage whisper, “I heard them!” We often came to that moment simultaneously. When one of us took a little longer than the other we’d lie in the dark, side by side and wait.

I wasn’t just pretending for Katie’s sake. I did hear something. When I was quiet enough, when, for that one fleeting moment, all the constant noise in my head gave way to the calming silence, I began to hear  the soothing sound of blood pumping in my ears. Funny, but the rythmic whoosh whoosh whoosh sounded just like the gentle fluttering of wings. And, just as the angels would, the sound brought with it a sense of quiet comfort and peace.

In that precious moment of stillness every night, I heard the angels.

Yesterday, I read this post.

I e-mailed Carrie. She’s been on my mind this week as she’s responsible for (now another) brewing post. The other one is clunkier. It’s taking some time to piece together. It’s chewy, sticky. It’s making me think, work.

I asked her about the cards that she referred to in the post. I was curious. I’d never seen anything like them before. By way of explanation, she sent me this link. In the middle of the page were these words:

“Angels Are Inner Companions”

Over the past year or so, our bedtime rituals have shifted, morphed into something different. As they’ve been getting older, the girls have been heading up to bed later. Time has been limited. For the past few months, I have spent time with Katie first, typically playing a game or reading together. During that time, Luau hangs out with Brooke and they carry out their own pre-bedtime routine. Then we switch. I say goodnight to Katie and head into Brooke’s room. Luau comes in to put Katie to bed and Brooke and I begin our own well practiced ritual.

Which means that walks around the park and an outstretched arm awaiting tickles have fallen by the wayside. Along with those blessed moments of listening for the angels in the darkness.

Katie and I have been having trouble finding enough time together lately. I haven’t had an easy solution. I’ve been stretched thin.

The answer couldn’t have been more obvious today. Those words, glowing on my screen. “Angels Are Inner Companions” They might as well have screamed, “Slow down and listen.”

I realized today just how much I’ve missed that quiet time with Katie. And with myself. And with my own version of the angels.

Tonight, I’m going to reinstate it. Even if it’s five extra minutes. I’ll find it.

As Carrie says, “No accidents.”

15 thoughts on “listening for the angels (alternatively titled 'no accidents ~ part one)

  1. Hello Jess and family, i found your blog through 5 minutes for special needs! My son Deqlan is 2 and a half – he is a cancer survivor and was diagnosed to be on the Autism spectrum in Oct last year ! I love your post about the angels and listening for them and i am going to try this with my stepdaughter Logan , who is 7, and also in need of those extra 5 minutes ! God Bless, you can visit us at

  2. “Rituals fallen by the way side.” “Not enough time.” “Too rushed.”

    These blips from your post so resonated with me, as those were exactly the thought running circles through my head over and over and over, when I went for my walk this morning.

    I’ve been so rushed these past few months, and as a result I am rushing the boys through everything. “Let’s do this, and then this, and then let’s do that, and then we have to move on to that.”, all the while with one eye glued to the clock. And this ‘go, go, go” is not agreeing with the boys. Not.One.Bit

    I need to slow down.. for the boys sake and for my own sake. Yes, there are always piles of homework that need to get done (5th grade is definitely tough in terms of school work expectations, add executive functioning deficits to the mix and well, things get crazy), there is always cooking that needs to be done, boys that need to take their vitamins etc on time, stinky laundry that needs to be washed. There are always mountains of toys, shoes, coats, school paperwork etc etc that need to be sorted and organized.

    But for the collective *sanity* in this house, I must create breathing space. I must find time for all of us to search for and listen to our angels.

    Thanks for this post Jess. Later tonite, when we’re all back home and the dinner insanity is behind us, the laundry, dirty dishes, sock/coat/toy/school paperwork, lunch boxes that need to be cleared out, cooking for tomorrow etc etc mess can wait.

    Instead I’ll just “BE” with my boys..

  3. Jess, what a beautiful post. I started a list of potential “blog fodder” posts this afternoon and among them is one about my bedtime ritual with Betty. These times are so special.

    I hope you’re having a wonderful night.

  4. What a beautiful post. These quiet moments with our children are just so precious and are things we’ll always look back on with joy – we need more moments like these.

  5. Pingback: angels and accidents « a diary of a mom

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