story as well as 100 others by different authors can be found in Chicken Soup
for Every Mom's Soul.
Just 4 feet. Only 48 inches. But it might as well have been the width and depth of the Grand Canyon for the difficulty my mother had in crossing the space between my little sisters and my bed each night. Each night I watched as my mother tucked in my little sister to go to sleep. I watched and patiently hoped she would come over by my bed and tuck me in and give me a kiss goodnight. But now I was 7 and a big girl. I couldn't remember if she had ever tucked me in to go to sleep; she must have. When it stopped or why I didn't remember. All I knew was that she tucked my little sister in each night and then she would walk past my bed over to the door and before she turned out the light she'd turn and say, "Good night".
At school the Sisters said that what you ask for when you receive your First Holy Communion you would surely get. We were supposed to think very carefully over this. I didn't have to think to long to know whom I was going to pray for and what I wanted. This was the perfect time to ask Jesus to make it so I could be tucked in and kissed good night.
That night after all the excitement I got ready for bed. I knew in my heart that I was going to now get the best gift of the day. I hung up my communion dress and got into bed. I pulled the blankets up around me but not all the way up. I wanted to leave some for my mother to pull up. The nightly ritual began. My mother put my sister to bed and she tucked her in and kissed her good night. She then stood up and walked past my bed to the doorway. She started to say, "Good night" but stopped in the middle. She went on to say what a beautiful day it was and how I should always stay this close to Jesus and then she turned off the light as she finished saying "Good night".
I cried quietly to sleep that night.
I waited and waited for that prayer to be answered but it never was. Over the years I learned from my mother that sometimes God says, "No" to what we ask for. I never knew why-I just came to accept it and soon forgot.
The years passed and I became a mother vowing to myself that my children would always know that they were loved. Hugs and kisses were freely given. Then one night as my children were all asleep in their beds upstairs, I fell asleep on the couch in the living room. As a young mother, I felt safer sleeping downstairs when my husband had to work the night shift. In the middle of the night I heard the sounds of someone coming down the steps. At first the footsteps were loud and then they suddenly stopped. I knew they saw me.
And now I also knew that tonight was going to be the night that I finally was going to find out which of my children was coming during the night and eating all the cookies. Every time this would happen I would find crumbs on the kitchen table in the morning. I would ask who did it but no one ever admitted to it. Well now I was going to find out just who the culprit was.
I stayed there as if I was still sleeping so this wrong doer would not suspect anything. I waited for the footsteps to begin again. And they did. But this time they were ever so gentle stopping on each step as not to wake me. But they were not coming down towards me instead they were going back up to the bedroom floor. I could hear a little bit of noise from upstairs and then the footsteps again began to come down the steps again.
Ever so slowly and quietly hardly making a sound. "Oh this child is good," I thought but what ever their plan was they had met their match. The steps slowly came closer towards me and stopped. They did not continue on to the kitchen. "Smart child this one," I thought going to make sure I'm really asleep. I was up to the challenge. I didn't move. I continued to breathe deeply as if I was fast asleep. I didn't want to play my hand too soon. I knew I had to catch this cookie thief in the act. I was feeling pretty pleased with my acting and thinking of what I was going to say in the kitchen.
When suddenly I felt heaviness on me. I didn't move even though it caught me off guard. I was still able to make it seem like I was sleeping. And then I realized that this child was putting a blanket over me. Ever so gently, as not to wake me, my feet were covered then my arms and special attention was being paid to covering my back. As I felt the little hands gently touching my neck my long forgotten First Communion prayer filled my mind.
I was hardly able to keep my tears from betraying me as I felt my child bend down and gently with a touch as soft as a feather give me a loving good night kiss that was worth a lifetime to wait for. Their job completed off they went back up to bed. There would be no raiding the kitchen tonight. Their unknown mission that night was to answer the childhood prayer of their mother.
As I heard the footsteps making their way back up the stairs I open my eyes. I was happy that my youngest daughter Patricia didn't look back and see the tears rushing down my face as I watched her. I learned that night that some prayers just take a little longer to get answered and that sometimes they are not always answered by whom we think will answer them. And even though my mother couldn't cross that 4 foot space to kiss me goodnight she had somehow taught me how to teach it to my children.