i stopped sucking my thumb

Ethan with four stitches

After being sent to bed with a promise I’d be there to tuck him in, Ethan pops back into the kitchen in his Spiderman pajamas with a big smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye and a bounce in his step.

“Ummm, hey, Dad?”

“Ya, buddy, whaddaya need?”

His eyes shift and his forehead tightens.  He is squinting and looking away as his mind works to remember what he has intended to say and to string together the correct words, then they grow again and the smile brightens as he finds the right expression.

“I stopped sucking my thumb today!” 

His feet won’t stay still and he dances a little jig with one hand on the end of the counter top and the other stretched to the corner of the table.

“Wow!  You did?  That’s great, buddy!  That’s really good.”

We’ve had this conversation before.

“Yep!  ‘Cause, I have to stop.  ‘Cause, when I get bigger, my teeth will get messed up, if I don’t stop.”  He dances a little more and nods, then his chin juts forward and the smile returns.

“That’s right.  That’s what the dentist says, huh?” 

He nods.

“That’s really good, Ethan, I’m proud of you!”

Mission completed, he skips from the room and heads back to his bed.

A few minutes later, when I finally make room to keep my tucking-in promise, Ethan is there, turning his head toward me in response to the sound of my footsteps, lying under his Spiderman blanket on the bottom bunk of the crib-size bunk beds I built when William was a baby.

The other kids in the room have already drifted off.

I kneel down beside Ethan’s bed, bending to kiss him on the forehead, and whisper in his ear, “say your prayer.”

He pulls his thumb from his mouth, and begins to mumble the words quickly and quietly:

“Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  Thy love be [or, I love you] with me through the night and keep me ’til the morning light.”

I add the ending, “Amen,” then follow his prayer with my own, whispered into his hair.  “Dear Jesus, thank you for keeping this boy safe and healthy.  Please, Lord, fill his heart with courage and strength; stir a passion in his heart for your kingdom.  Watch over him and keep him.  Please, Lord, watch over him.  We trust in you.  Amen.”

Another kiss to his forehead, then, “Good night, Ethan.  I love you.”

As I stand and turn to walk out of the room, he pulls his thumb out of his mouth again to say, “Good night, Dad.  Love you!”

5 thoughts on “i stopped sucking my thumb”

  1. Dale this is so awesome, I love the tenderness you have with your children. Sometime while I am ushering on Sundays I will set in a hidden place around the foyer and watch people. I have noticed you and your kids several times and just the love to watch your interaction.


  2. i was listening to “stronger” while reading this post. lots of thoughts rolling around in my head. mostly of how much god loves me and how often i forget that. sin is broken. it is written. christ is risen. he is stronger. jesus is lord of all. these are reminders i need. truth that will set me free and bring change.


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