Sitting at the kitchen table, I heard scuffling on the monitor from across the room. I know most of you reading this have long since sold those baby listening devices in garage sales, or tossed them in the GoodWill box – but we still have ours. Why? – you might ask. Well, because Future Hoarder of America, believe it or not, sleeps in a crib. I can hear the moans groaning. So he’s almost four. But, hey… why fix something that’s not broken? The kid’s happy in his contained little space. He has carefully equipped the bed with all his goodies of the moment and appreciates the bars that keep predator siblings and cleaning moms out. (He thinks.) Plus, we have the kid tucked away in his cave … yeah – a man cave … without the cool electronics but a monitor so we can hear him if he cries. His cave resembles our closet.
This morning I expected to hear, “Maahhwwmm…” but instead heard scampering little feet, shuffling of stuff and a song from one of FHA’s favorite toys, a bunny that tunes “Hear Comes Peter Cottontail” as it rocks up and down. Since the kid had midnight rendezvoused to our bed last night, he had climbed out on his own and began to play rather than join me downstairs for some early morning one-on-one.
Next I heard the door to our room close.
The kid is incredibly fastidious for an almost 4-year-old. We think he must like order because he is so methodical in almost everything he does. On mornings he descends from our room alone, he makes sure to quietly close the door behind him so his dad can keep sleeping peacefully. Which he did this morning as he made his way downstairs.
We chatted. He showed me his find of the moment – one of those Japanese erasers that have different parts. This particular eraser was a three-piece sandwich cookie that proved fun to assemble and disassemble which he did over and over. Then he crawled under the table and hid the eraser for me to find. After playing by himself for a while, he crawled back over to me and sat under my chair. Within moments, he was clinging to my leg.
“I’m squeezing you, Mom.” he informed me.
“Yes you are.”
He inched up to grab my middle.
“I’m huggin’ you.”
“I love when you hug me.”
He hummed his satisfaction in reply.
It’s one of my very favorite things he does … and he does it often. Many times a day, he just stops whatever he’s doing, walks over to me, and clings for dear life. Always informing me, “I’m hugging you.” He doesn’t ask for anything in return (but I sure hug back). He doesn’t over-hug (you know those ones that obnoxiously, awkwardly linger). No, his hugs are real. They’re purposeful. He’s making sure I’m there. He’s touching home base. He’s letting me know he loves me. It’s powerful. It’s intimate.
Mmmm… don’t you know I soak it up.
This morning, as I relished in this very small act, I couldn’t help but consider my relationship with God. Knowing that God loves me more than I can ever love this kid, I thought about whether I stay close and touch base with Him the way Jack does with me. Or, do I run away to different rooms, trying to handle stuff on my own? Thinking about what might be good and right, but forging my own path rather than checking in to grab some affirmation from my home base.
Then, taking it a step further and moving away from making it about me… I considered the fact that just as I sat in that chair watching Jack play and being available for his needed security check and message of love, God sits and is (unlike me) always available for the spontaneous hugs and gut checks. Am I aware that God is always within arms reach? Available for hugging, talking or just sitting quietly? I forget about that more often than I’d like to admit. And… how often to I take time to just stop whatever I’m doing and thank Him? Share my love, appreciation, admiration?
One more thing about Jack… he’s not a free hugger. He’s only got eyes for me. He is never distracted by well-meaning, sometimes attractive people seeking hugs, the kid keeps his hugs for the one who is his home base. Hmmm… am I so entrenched in/intimate with God that all those enticing things of life pale in comparison to time with Him? Do I seek only Him for comfort? for safety? for peace?
I know the analogy has limited legs… but it did make me think. And thats usually a good thing. Hey – at least the brain cells are firing (because you just never know around here) … and the hugs are flying.
For my Mary Poppins kid (practically perfect in every way), he does have his issues … mostly centered on an odd obsession with stuff. Last night when Jon & I walked in from a date, here’s what we saw perfectly arranged on the kitchen table (he likes his treasure in order).