Tuesday, January 09, 2007
A Child Loved
I’m here in the bath with 16 month old Rebekah. Though it’s only 1:10pm she is in the bath. It’s a bit early for a bath I know but the rigors of the day require it already.
And I’m thinking about what makes a child feel loved. And of course it’s the little things and the big things. The little things like making them lunch with a smile and cleaning up the after effects with a grin, albeit a bit forced. Smiling at them while you change a diaper that if it were anyone else’s it would be dreadful. But this is your baby and you are happy to be the one to do it. In fact you wouldn’t dream of trying to pawn it off on your husband or a big brother or sister because that would be an unwillingness to love. And in mothers and fathers who are unwilling and let their reluctance be known I can’t help but think that realization goes right to a child’s soul.
And then among the big thins, there is the unwillingness to have another child. No matter whether it is your second or your tenth. That is a failure of love and an effort to put something lesser in front of life- your convenience, your comfort, your leisure, your figure, your bella sante, your career, even your other children. Or the fear of having a child with problems as you advance in age. Because goodness knows we don’t want to “tempt fate” and allow the possibility of something less than the perfect child. Well, bliss and perfection are not for this life anyway- only the next- if we can earn the gift of it freely given.
Two more profound moments in a child’s life- the moment they go to sleep whether for a nap or bedtime and the moment they wake up. Make sure the last words they hear you say are, “I love you. I’ll miss you.’ And the first when they awake, “I love you. I missed you.” Whenever I get the baby up from her nap I bring her into the room with the family and announce her grand presence- “Look who’s awake! It’s our baby!” Everyone oohs and ahhs and gives kisses and hugs and the imprint of the family’s love is made indelible on that little soul.