The Window Seat
Smiling and giggling, the boy thrashes out of my hug like a lake trout; heedlessly springing over the circle of my arms like a robust gazelle calf to escape. It is a game, but truly he does not wish to be embraced. Even at this tender age he is perhaps a little embarrassed by my affection. More so, the world beckons with its promises of discovery. His curiosity answers. At home too, he struggles against a tight hold.
He longs to be held lightly, only.
Of all my children, he is the last I would have expected this preference.
Of all my children, he is the only one who was snuggled at night merely for the sake of snuggling. Once in a while, when I should have been climbing into my bed, I instead would lift the peacefully sleeping baby from the crib and cradle him. In spite of my sleep deprivation I would do this. We would glide, glide, glide as he slept. He would melt into the nook of my elbow and rest deeply.
Never was I afraid this baby boy would wake and not return to sleep – not with this son.
After he moved to a toddler bed, I occasionally would sneak in and cuddle him. He would reach out his hand and cozy up to me and continue his sleep. I would hold him longer at times I sensed he needed a greater measure of love than was allotted in daytime hours. Those days are just shortly past. Now he pulls away, he loosens himself from the hearty embrace.
My feelings are not hurt exactly; no.
I am instead met with a longing to pour my love out toward him, a longing unfulfilled.
Those wee hours, I would gather my infant and climb into the gliding chair in the same awareness and attitude of a daughter crawling into her daddy’s lap. It was an act of willingness for the embrace of God. As I sat, this phrase would play through my mind, noting my own usual inability to be held, to be still, to receive the love of God;
“… how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34)
Even in this context of the Old Testament law and kingdom establishment, Jesus expresses his yearning in terms of affection, intimacy, and nurturing. An unmet yearning that leads to sorrow.
Parenting brings a powerful longing to pour out love into my children.
Those hourless nights holding my son, I would sit fully cradled in the arms of God, beaming adoration into my son while God poured his love into us both. Though I knew those days would end, I knew my longing to adore my son would never be quenched.
I relate to the love of God in a way that is beyond the head knowledge that God loves me. More profound than a mother’s capacity to love, God yearns to wrap us in strong arms of peace, comfort, and safety. To pour his love into us like tea warms a teacup. I know what it means to be infused by His love. I feel it seep into me warmly, radiating like the way the sun warms a window seat.
Knowing I would need this extra time with my particular son, perhaps God moved me to forgo sleep for this baby boy. Perhaps because I would need the extra assurance that his tendency to run was not from any failure to nurture the longing for touch.
This prompt, yet another gift of love.
Rarely, my son allows me to cradle him in my arms and hold him close. I hope this remains so until our dying day of parting. As he typically struggles from my arms, my thoughts turn toward God.
How relentlessly He yearns for me to soak in a knowledge and feeling of His love and affection, in contrast to how seldom I actually do so. In yearning to provide my son a place of rest and affection in my arms, I remember how much God longs for me to settle, yielding in His. Even as an adult, I will never outgrow God’s yearning for the outpouring of love.
Gone are the gliding nights. The window seat lasts.
I have distractions galore to call me away from the embrace. I have guilt enough that would try to prove I’m no longer privy to the lap of comfort. My longings remind me to find the window seat. To crawl into the arms of God, allowing respite to the outpouring of His love, and to be simply embraced.
Andi is a wife, a mother to three boys, devoted to listening to and learning about Jesus through reading and writing, and is passionate about molecular biology and appreciating God through observing the world. She is also an occasional water-color painter, violinist, and swimmer; a lover of rich conversation and healthy portions of solitude, in turn. Her family makes their home in beautiful Oregon.