On the way home from church Sunday, Allyson interrupted Ethan in the middle of a story to ask, "Can I have some van-pire teeth?"
"Vampire teeth?" Bill echoed.
"Just a minute," I said. "Ethan was talking."
The moment there was a break in the conversation, Allyson continued, "About the van-pire teeth... can I have some?"
"Why do you need vampire teeth?" Bill asked.
"I want to be a vampire for Halloween. Can we get my costume now?"
"It's a little soon to get your costume," Bill replied.
I smiled ruefully; she didn't realize that she was only twisting the knife further. She prattled on cheerfully throughout her bath while I held back tears.
It wasn't until an hour later, when I talked it over with God in my closet, that I let the tears fall. "I know I should be thankful for the bond that Bill and Allyson share, and I know it's not a contest, but why does it hurt so much? I'd heard that there are often conflicts between girls and their mothers, but she's only four, God! I'm not ready for this." I knelt there in our secret place, resting my head on my crossed arms, until my breathing became slow and steady. "Help me rest in your love," I whispered.
Then I prayed my favorite verses over Allyson, including Ephesians 3:17-18; I asked God to let her be rooted and established in love, so that she can grasp how long and wide and high and deep is the love of Christ. I prayed that I too will be rooted in that love so I can share it with her, that my love will be firm enough to stand through all of the conflicts we will face together.
The next day, her morning snuggles were that much sweeter.