(Note: After you have read this post, I wonder if this picture will strike you as visual of what I posted about – it did me).
Last night when I got home from WOF, Tanner – for the first time in SEVEN years – told me he had missed me. Tanner, like his daddy, finds it really hard to express how he feels. Something is changing though. Recently Jim and I were talking about this and I was describing Tanner’s need for touch. Jim and I both committed that we need to be very proactive about physical touch with Tanner – because he won’t ask for it but it is becoming more and more obvious that he really wants it (and you know how much I want to give it).
This weekend there were several things said by speakers that kept drawing me back to the topic of living loved. It’s interesting to me that Ty has such an easy time of living loved. He goes about his day happy and cheerful and naturally embracing how much he is loved and cherished. He makes daily demands of my attention and affection. He tells me what he wants and needs. “Mommy – I need some cuddle time – go put on your comfy pajammas now. Mommy tickle my feet, rub my back, tickle my hands….I love you”.
It makes me wonder why Tanner holds back from asking the same questions or making the same demands? The other night Ty asked me to rub his feet and climbed up beside me. A few minutes later Tanner appeared and cuddled me on the other side – something that is happening more and more frequently. He did his little slipping his hand in and out of mine manuever but didn’t say a word. After a minute I said “Tanner would you like me to rub your feet too?”. He shyly shook his head yes. Last night when I returned from WOF he cuddled up to me on the couch immediately and I began touching, softly tickling, running my fingers through his hair. He let me do this for about two hours. I was elated. While he still didn’t declare his need, he made it known by getting as close to me as he could.
Why are we like Tanner with God instead of like Ty? What keeps us from saying “Hey God I need some cuddle time” and naturally assuming we will get it? Is it our guilt? Well if anyone should feel “guilt” for disobedience in a day – it is my little Ty (LOL) but he doesn’t let guilt stand in his way. I have a theory on that too. Ty understands that he can’t out sin my love for him. Never would even cross his mind. Due to Ty’s sensory processing disorder, consequence is a hard concept for him. His brain doesn’t evaluate that far because his primary concentration is fulfilling his sensory need. This creates a lot of parenting frustration for me (trust me!)…but it does have one positive outcome. Regardless of the consequence he received in a day – regardless of how much discipline or how many talks we have had – time outs – things taken away – early bed time…he completely seperates his consequences from my affection. He doesn’t live with guilt or shame. He doesn’t hide from my affection. He never assumes that I am angry and if I am - he doesn’t really ”get” that my anger is stemming from his behavior. He lives loved all the time. While this ability most likely stems from “disabilities” – the end result is something magnificient. An incredible gift. An amazing capacity for love – both in the giving and in the taking. That is the kind of “disability” I want with a passion.
I don’t think most of us really “get” that concept. I think we hedge in real close to God and start to ask, and then draw back. We slip our hand up to reach his, and we pull it back. Sometimes it might be because the memory of all our offenses slips down around our shoulders and the weight of it drops our outreached arm like a ball and chain attached. Maybe other times it’s because we think we don’t deserve that love and affection so we make a protective decision “on God’s behalf” – as if we are saving Him from the pain of loving us by our attempts to distance Him. Other times I think we simply don’t buy it. Why in the world would He love us? I mean really? Would do we possibly have to offer? Felt any of these things before? I have.
If you are a parent reading this though…how would you feel if you were in my shoes with my children (and maybe this is your story at home as well)? If one child could easily embrace your love and live right in the center of it and the other child held back from saying “I need your touch right now”?
You long for them don’t you? Aren’t you just on top of the world when those little ones express their need because you were already anxious willing and waiting to fill it? Now don’t ge me wrong – Tanner has ALWAYS received my affection – but I have always gone to him. It thrills me to no end that Ty lives so easily in my love. He wants to be showered with affection and God wired my need to “shower him” into my genetic code. I was made in His image. So how is God “wired”? It’s really rather obvious isn’t it?
I don’t recall the moment this epiphany hit me over the weekend, but I think that each time Ty comes to me and asks for cuddle time I will remind myself to learn to live loved before my own daddy – just like my son does. I am also praying for Tanner. Praying that he will learn how to live securely inside the affection of his daddy and mommy but more importantly – his heavenly daddy. I don’t want my little boy to miss out on one cuddle that was always there for the taking. Especially not when his mom…his dad…and the King of the Universe were downright EXCITED to give it to him.