I Tuck My Mom In


“All night, all day,

Angels watching over me, my Lord.

All night, all day,

Angels watching over me.”

I remember the warm nights at camp in Kansas City. Perhaps nine years old, we sang that song each evening after our night meeting.

It comforted me.

You know, nine years old at camp by yourself without your mom–anything could happen.

But somehow knowing angels kept tabs of my whereabouts helped me sleep better.

As I sang those words last night, the scenario had changed drastically. This time I leaned over Mom’s hospital bed comforting her.

She’s 94 now. Her skin is breaking down, she often forgets what she’s talking about–can’t seem to retrieve words from her brain–and needs two people to help her walk. When she can walk.

But at night, when the lights are low, I cover her paper-thin hand with mine and we sing. I carry the tune while her raspy voice drops an octave sometimes creating a kooky harmony. It sounds perfect to me.

Mom and I have never been friends like I’m friends with my daughter, but I knew she’d always be there when I needed her.

Like the time I was three years old and rode double with my older sister, Paulette. I remember wondering what it would feel like to stick my foot in the spokes of the bicycle.

I did. Mom rushed me to the hospital, scolding my sister all the way. (Really, at that time she should have had me committed.)

Before I birthed Sarah, mom came. And stayed. And stayed. Sarah refused to come out.

Finally, Mom flew home.

Sarah decided to make an appearance and within a matter of minutes, I was prepped for a cesarian.

“Call Mom!” I shouted to Tom as they wheeled me into the operating room.

She came. I knew she would.

So last night, we sang. And tonight we will sing.

And the angels will smile.



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