Right at the place where “Feisty Bear” gives his Mama a snuggly little bear hug and closes his eyes in much needed slumber, I see the sole of a little bare foot pop out from between the rungs of the crib.
My shoulders quiver as I pull them forward in my effort to stifle an outburst of laughter, but then I give in to it. Why not?
She giggles too - lots and lots of giggles. The child is silly, she’s adorable, she’s wonderful. Then she sits up pulling that foot in and under her, but not before I press my lips to it and enjoy the warm softness, the baby smell of her skin. How clean, pure and innocent. She giggles some more.
I think how ridiculous it would be for an adult to act this way and I laugh out loud at this thought. “Here everyone - here’s the sole of my foot. I thought you’d all like to see it, so I’ve stuck it out for you.”
Of course, sometimes adults show other things that nobody really needs to see, so I guess we are ridiculous sometimes, but never mind that for now.
“You silly little bear!” I say. She reaches her little foot back out and I grab it. She squirms it out of my hand and squeals in delight.
Now she’s reaching for me. (Is there anything more wonderful?) I reach for her too.
“No, Dad,” my daughter (her mother) says to me. “She was ‘Feisty Bear’ all day. She did not take a nap and you know that for the last couple of hours she’s done nothing but whine and want her own way. It’s past time for her to go to sleep. We’ll say our prayers and then we’ll - sleep.” She pronounces that last word ‘sleep’ firmly and distinctly, looking right at her daughter.
So we pray blessings over our own ‘Feisty Bear’ and over everyone in the house and we trust our souls (and our soles - I added that!) to Jesus. My daughter nods for us to go.
A whispered, “I love you,” and a tiny kiss to the top of her silken head and I walk toward the stairs. I’m concerned that my daughter is too ‘no-nonsense’. Kids are all about nonsense - she certainly was. I turn at the top of the stairs to realize that she is not there with me.
With the stealth learned over many years of fatherhood, I sneak back to the doorway. There at the crib, one mama holds her little one. She cups the little culprit foot in her hand and nuzzles the little neck with kisses.
It seems like there should be a lesson here. Maybe ‘I love you even when you whine all evening’ (kind of like God loves us), but all I can think of is ‘what a blessing it is to be a parent!’
Thank you, God.
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