I held him and watched as his small body became more still, more relaxed in my arms. His breathing softened and slowed, his hand fell against my knee. His long, dark eyelashes fluttered softly against the very top of his perfectly-smooth cheeks before finally landing there to stay.
I laid my hand carefully on the top of his head and thought about his dear mother. I thought about how much she must love and adore him. How precious the times must be for her, when he slumbers on her warm shoulder. I thought about how much I loved the boy's mother -- as a good woman and a loyal friend who I have always respected and admired.
I thought about my friend, I thought about her sleeping little boy, and I thought about how much they needed each other.
Something wonderful happened then -- between the rows of tiny chairs, the piano's strident chords, and the young children singing about Jesus. It felt like stillness. Like sunshine. Like a tug at the bottom of my heart. Like the gentle whisper of an angel. It felt like love.
And I knew I loved that little boy, too.