I led
them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.  To them I was like one who lifts a little
child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:3-4

*   *   *

I stand in the doorway of my older son’s preschool.  Holding it open with one hip, I hunch
toward the ground with my arms outstretched on either side.

“Hold hands, hold hands,” I chant in a sing-song voice and
immediately my one-year-old twins turn and raise their hands. Plump fingers twine themselves around
my index fingers on either side, like vines growing up a trellis. 

“Good hands, good job. 
Big boys, holding hands,” I chirp as we step out into the wide expanse
of a parking lot, traveling the world with our hands woven together.  They toddle along, three steps to my one and
I rub the back of their hands, the skin soft and warm, like round buttered
biscuits, two smooth stones I hold so dear. 

*   *   *

In the morning, we stand groggily in the kitchen as wakefulness
makes its slow path across our faces. 
They’re waiting, desperate, for precious sippy-cups of milk being warmed
in the microwave and I’m clutching, just as desperately, my precious cup of

When the timer dings, they reach with thirsty hands that
clutch the cups, then turn and trot, prize in hand, to the living room, their
soggy morning diapers wagging like little tails as they lead the way.  Chugging milk, Levi stops at the couch and
pats it demandingly with his open hand as if to say, “Here, Mama. You sit

Settling into the familiar corner as the sun rises through
wide-paned windows, I part with my cup as Levi makes his home on my left
thigh.  Isaiah, busy at the book basket,
finds a favorite and makes his way to the couch.   Turning
at the last moment, he backs toward me in a move that reminds me of a tractor trailer easing
its way up to a loading dock.  He stands
there, his back exposed, his hands filled with good things and waits, trusting
completely that I know what comes next.

Leaning forward so that Levi tips precariously, I hook my
hands under Isaiah’s arms and curl my hearty maternal biceps, lifting him like
a crane and landing him gently on my right thigh.  Home at last, they settle back into my chest,
thrusting the book into my waiting hands and lifting their cups in a warm,
milky celebration of contentment.

*   *   *

Standing on the edge of the pool this past summer, my older
two flung themselves heartily out into space again and again.  They relished the flight and giddy peals of
laughter flew off like sparks as they landed like spider monkeys, clinging to
my head and neck with arms and legs entwined. 
They don’t look to see if I’m watching before they leap and I dare not turn
my head – all of me is trained on catching them and so they leap, secure in the

My children trust me so, lifting hands without looking,
feeling the security of a mother’s heart that extends all the way from her
wide, soft chest to the tips of her fingers. 
Every time they back up to me I recognize it, this posture of trust that
captures the heart of a child.  Every
time they lift their hands, every time they leap, they embody trust in a way
that will hold their hearts in the years to come. 

They model a willingness to stand exposed, vulnerable before
love, a willingness to be led and lifted, to lean into need and desire without
anxiety or fear. In the face of this trust, these gestures and postures, I’m
learning – these children are teaching me – and I find, again, a prayer forming
on my lips.

Restore in me, oh God,
the heart of a child.  Form in me, a fearless
heart that leans, forever positioning itself on the edge of life if only to
feel again and again the joy of flight, the wonder of being caught and lifted
by your great arms of love.     

This post is linked with Playdates With God and Tell His Story.

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