Holy Incantations and Vessels for Light


Every night I lie down with my son.
There are books that have told me that he should be able to fall asleep on his own.
That it is not necessary to stay with him until he drifts off, mouth slack, fingers twitching.
But, in this case, I am not under the influence of other voices.
Rather, I am under the spell of a six year old and his long eyelashes and milk heavy breath and the way his body curves like a ‘C’ into my own shape.
Together, we drift like feathers into the dusky light of this bedroom.

I used to do this with my mom when she was resting after chemo.
It was always late afternoon and the sunlight fell in a perfect slant across her blanket,
our bodies warm to the touch.
I usually spent the time studying her face.
Exhaustion pulling at her cheeks,
story after story gathered at the corner of her eyes.
Even then, she was luminous,
the burn of her spirit undaunted by disease or chemical warfare.

Last night, I stared at my son in the darkening room.
I could see hints of my mom’s features in his face and I marveled how he could be,
at once, so unique and so familiar and how
we are all vessels for light—beautiful and fragile and radiant.
I slipped his doughy hand into my own and rubbed it softly,
holy incantations spilling from my lips,
all the wishes for the days to come like beads draped around our necks.
His cheek caught the light from some secret place in the dark
and my belly began to warm.

Holly Grantham
Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace. After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends that she lives in the country.
Holly Grantham

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