Last night I could not hold back my tears at bedtime. Sitting down to read a story as bid, the tears just gushed.
It started with just a couple of tears that had climbed over the lip of my eye. B spotted them and reached up to touch, “what’s that? Why you sad?”
At times, her curiosity and her earnest empathic movement towards someone/me just pries open my vulnerability like a hot knife through butter. So last night two tears and a little question became streams of tears, gushing tears.
The corners of her mouth turned down deep, her lip pursed out, tears welled in her eyes and as she asked me about my crying and my feelings.
I tried to explain, “I am sad because my mommy is sick and I love her so much.” She mirrored me, though holding back her own tears. She reflected my words in our little conversation, “you wuv your mommy.” I do. And I love you. And it is such big, big love it spills down my face sometimes.
I tried to be honest, model actually feeling and dealing with my emotions, and still reassure her that she is safe with her own mommy and daddy right here with her.
When we temporarily sated her inquiries, she handed me our Desmond TuTu storybook Bible and asked for the one “with the stone, and the angels, and Mary.”
For all the thinking and writing I’ve done on the child as sacrament, there are not words for the experience of it.
The words managed to sneak past the emotion caught in my throat as I read my daughter the good news that God raised Jesus from the dead. She asked me to read her Resurrection. And maybe I needed to hear it even more than she did. God has worked this way in my life before. Often the text I’m asked to read or preach turns out to be precisely what I needed to hear. It turns out to be the very reminding I needed.
After that one, she requested the one with baby Jesus and Mary. It’s the one she always wants. That story is one of her Linus-blanket stories.
This morning after she’d crawled into my bed before I was awake, she reached over after a time, letting me doze as she watched Little Bear, and she put her hand to my face gently tracing the edge of my hair line, saying, “you are very my mommy…I wuv you, mom,” reassuring herself and me.
(from Children of God Storybook Bible https://www.amazon.com/Children-Storybook-Bible-Archbishop-Desmond/dp/0310719127)