“Every time we say goodbye you’re frozen in my mind as a child that you never will be again.” – 10,000 Maniacs, How You’ve Grown
I had a nice, subtle, not-quite-but-almost-tearful moment with my youngest son Jackson the other day. He was in his crib and started fussing (not awake, but clearly upset about something). I went in to try to settle him down and he was standing, facing the wall, and crying “up” … like I said, not awake, but clearly upset about something. So, I picked him up and he cuddled in on my shoulder and calmed right down.
It dawned on me in that moment (perhaps the 10,000 Maniacs song was humming in my subconsciousness, who knows?) that no matter how big he gets, he’ll always be the little boy I was cuddling – in my mind anyway. I rubbed my hand on his back and he sighed, and I whispered in his ear (as I do from time to time) “I love you.”
Now, this is not some great revelation. Parents get this. What dawned on me at that moment is that this is how my parents still likely see me – from time to time anyway. I’m 38, have a wife, job, house, three kids – and I’m also a little two-year-old who woke up from a bad dream and needed to be cuddled. This, of course, is quite comforting in itself.
I was reading the Gospel of John the other day and went through the Lord’s conversation with Nicodemus in chapter 3. “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” – John 3:3. And there we are, all of us, silly little recently born-again Christians crying over some bad dream or some confusing day, and the Father picks us up, cuddles us, and whispers “I love you.” That “I love you – and I know you’re scared and confused and really want me to take away the bad dream, but right now I’m just smiling a huge broad smile and telling you I love you – and it’s going to be alright” moment.
And now, the 10,000 Maniacs – How You’ve Grown (with apologies, it’s just the audio with a picture of the album title … the live versions I found on youtube weren’t that great):