Sunday, November 6, 2011
Yesterday the kids made a list of things babies should know about their parents. Mister was the first to make a suggestion. And he did not need any time to think of his answer. “Let them carry you,” he said.
I keep thinking about the words of his heart, so ready on his tongue. My baby knows something about being carried. He was carried on the back of his mother as she tended to soil and hearth. He was carried away by a social worker, when his mother knew there was nothing left to give. He was carried up and down the alley at Horizon House by the Nurse, who said he refused to be comforted, howling through sunrise and sunset. He was carried by me – the Embassy, airports, the streets of Wiesbaden and Chicago. We did not bring a stroller or even a backpack with us to meet our baby. We knew – or someone told us – that our child would need to be carried in our arms.
At first, Mister did not let his Daddy pick him up. And we respected that. We trusted that there was time for bonding, and we could be patient as he learned to trust us one at a time. But after three weeks at home, one day my husband picked Mister up and headed downstairs. I listened to the protests dampen as they rounded the right angles between upstairs and down. Then it was quiet. And then there was giggling. Now, that moment – being scooped up into Daddy’s arms – is one of Mister’s favorite stories to tell.
“Remember when I didn’t want Dad to hold me but he picked me up and we went downstairs to play?”
“I remember,” I smile.
“Ya,” He says patting me on the back.
Now he is 54 pounds. When he falls asleep in the van, I have to wake him up to walk instead of carrying him inside. If he falls asleep when we rock, I have to wait for his Dad to come by and take him to bed. When he asked to snuggle on my hip during singing time at church, I have to say no. He has gotten to big to carry.
So now we hold hands, which will soon be uncool. When we no longer hold hands maybe we will walk side by side. And talk on the telephone.
My dad once told my husband to carry the kids whenever they asked, warning that the window of time for carrying is shockingly brief. He was right. My babies are growing up and out of my arms and into a world that asks much of them. So, Mister’s timely word to the babies of the world feels sweet, wise and old like his soul.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4