Every time I get in the front seat after buckling Paul into his carseat, I look back and find him gazing at me. Doors can open and shut as Eddy hops out to run errands, horns honk, people talk. Nothing distracts his gaze. He seems to be looking deep down inside me and somehow draws peace and contentment there. On my part, I love returning the gaze and enjoying all the innocence, joy and love I see in his eyes – God’s creation really is perfect!
I love it when Charbel (one year and eight months) toddles after me into the kitchen to taste test something I bake. He has an excellent appetite – how much he can pack down in one day never ceases to amaze me! But what I love most is hearing his soft little voice saying “yummy” after tasting some treat I’ve made with him in mind. I don’t think anything could be more fulfilling for a mother cooking that the complete satisfaction that shines on her child’s face covered with crumbs and smeared with sticky goodness.
The other evening Charbel starting crying loudly over something. I don’t remember the cause, but I definitely remember the cries! Nothing would console him. He didn’t want to eat, drink or play. When I bent over one more time trying to calm him down, he suddenly reached out, grabbed both sides of my head and pulled me toward him until his face was right up against mine. He held me there fast, one little hand grasping my ear, the other grabbing my hair. Within seconds his tearful screams had turned into sniffling little gasps and then stopped altogether. His breathing slowed to a peaceful rate, and he stayed there, keeping his forehead and face touching mine, and stroking my hair with his hand. About five minutes later, his grasp on my hair loosened – he had fallen asleep.
Whenever they hear my voice as I enter the room, Paul turns toward me, reaching out with his little arms and cooing to be held. Charbel starts toddling toward me as fast as his little legs can carry him. Their legs will grow and their voices will deepen, but I hope I will always be there for them the same way.
In these and so many other moments, I realize what a privilege it is to be a mother. Somehow, those little ones seem to instinctively realize that they have come from me. As little Paul gazes at me nonstop and Charbel tries to crush himself into me, it seems as though both of them, in their own way, are spiritually returning to where they came from and finding rest there. Somehow, there is a deep safety children associate with the presence of their mother, and they naturally run back to that anchor when they are upset or frightened, tired or excited. Even though they are outside in the real world, their thoughts and emotions still seem unbreakably linked to that well of safety, which is their mother’s heart. We mothers have done nothing to deserve this – it is a treasure God has given us. I think this spiritual connection is the most important part of being a mother. We can, and must, teach our children many things, but I am sure that the bond they have with us plays the largest role in determining their outlook on life. I hope and pray that when my children come running, they will always find in my heart a deep reservoir of love, faith and trust that give them security and confidence in God, others and themselves.