Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

This morning as I was making breakfast, Sammy probably asked me 12 times if he could help. It's not uncommon for Sammy to want to help and he does so regularly, but this time it felt more like "I-just-need-to-be-close-to-you-right-now-Mommy". So he stirred the oatmeal on the stove and sprinkled it with cinnamon.

I noticed while we were eating that he was very quiet. That is completely out of character for Sammy, especially at the table. He is forever getting "talked to" for his silly antics and loud chatter that occupies his meal times, as opposed to actually eating. But not this morning. This morning he just ate his oatmeal without saying a word while Caedmon and I chatted about the day.

Finally it dawned on me that something wasn't right.

I said, "Sammy, are you okay?"

blank stare into his bowl of oatmeal

"Sammy, are you feeling sick?

shakes head "no"

"Are you sad?"

shakes head "no"

"Is there something that you need Mommy to do for you?"

begins to shake his head "no", but then nods "yes"

"What can Mommy do for you?"

crosses his arms

"A hug? Do you need a hug?"

solemn face. big nod.

He climbed over in my lap, put his head on my shoulder, and there we sat for the next 10 minutes. Not a word was said. Just gently swaying back and forth, filling up a heart that must have leaked all out. After about 10 minutes or so, he slid back into his chair and finished the rest of his breakfast. And he's been back to "normal" ever since.

After breakfast the boys went off to play and I told Andy what had happened. He said, "That's strange. Sammy did the same thing to me this morning. Sat in my lap with his head on my shoulder for at least 10 minutes."

For any of you who know Sammy, you know he is not typically a cuddler. Your'e lucky to get a high five as he sprints by, and you practically have to tackle him to get a hug. He is almost always silly, playful, and on the move. So, for him to spend 20+ minutes of his morning in his mommy & daddy's arms revealed that something was going on his heart.

God used this moment with Sammy to remind me of how very important a parent's role is in listening to his/her child's heart. It would have been so easy to miss the subtle clues that Sammy was giving. I could have been (as I am many mornings) rushing around to clean up the breakfast dishes or checking email on my phone. I thanked God that He gave me eyes to catch this one, and it left me wondering how many others I have missed in the past.

Whether they're toddlers or teenagers, our kids often have a hard time expressing (or even understanding!) what's going on in their hearts. We do them a great service when we are attentive, ask questions, and take the time to show that we deeply care.

Take a moment to think about each of your children...What clues are they trying to pass you? What hidden message is behind their words? What behavior are they showing that is really an outward manifestation of something taking place deep below the surface?

It is so easy to rush through each day, from the first ring of the alarm clock to bedtime routine, and never truly engage the heart. God reminded me this morning to slow down. Prioritize the heart. 

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Thank you for this post! You again put into words what I am feeling in my heart! Sitting at the airport now missing my kids- can't wait to get home to see them and hug them and thankful that I am able to do so!