I still remember the taste of soap on my tongue, the stubborn lye refusing to dissolve, leaving a thick residue on my tongue. The lesson worked, and for that reason, we are saving soap in the mouth for only the most grave language slip-ups in our house. We haven’t had to go there yet, but I know the day is coming.
That being said, potty talk, a mild offense when occasional, has risen to new levels in our household of little boys. Poo poo, toilet, poot, belly button, and all their unseemly cousins are the popular jargon these days. We have a jar system that seems to be working (another chat for another time), but we are still ambushed by a few potty words daily.
Needless to say, while jumping on the trampoline this morning, the topic of conversation Tyus chose was belly buttons. After I tried to explain in a less-than-anatomical way that we were once connected at our belly buttons, Ty abruptly ended the conversation by throwing a soccer ball at my head. He had moved on, but somehow my mind was stuck there on an imaginary umbilical cord.
Sure, this unseen cord that connects the two of us has gotten much longer and the space allowed between the two of us has grown, yet I think every momma feels these strong tugs, cords, connections between herself and each of her children.
For the first 6 years of his life he spent nearly every waking moment with me. What I experienced, he experienced. When I was grumpy, he felt it; when he was tired, I felt it. We were bored together, interested together, growing together. I usually don’t think of these unseen bands between us until something makes me aware of it.
Sometimes when we are a little too close for a little too long, the cord gets all entangled around us like the 30 foot telephone cord used to get wrapped around my mother when she was talking to her best friend while folding the laundry. When this happens, we get stuck, all intertwined, all annoyed. We just need a bit more space from each other, which is right and appropriate as he grows up.
Other times, we are stretched a little too far a little too fast, which causes the unseen cord to pull taut, ripping at my heart. I feel this yank, this strain, when I am out of town for a few days and wonder how he is doing and what is going on in his little heart and mind. I felt it when he started kindergarten. I feel it when he is right on the cusp of something new or big, like when he struggled this summer to ride a two-wheeler.
I’m learning to be thankful for those times, as they remind me that I will always be his momma, that he will always need a mother. We are connected for better or worse, through the sweet stages and the awkward, rocky stages that are sure to come. The cord will loosen and entangle then tighten and stretch to appropriate distances. But it will remain.
This same invisible, yet almost tangible cord exists between the Lord and His children. This same beautiful imagery is used in Hosea 11:1-4 to describe God’s connection to us.
When Israel was a youth, I loved him. And out of Egypt I called my son…Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from the jaws; and I bent down and fed them.
He was beaten by cords so that nothing can separate me from the cords of His love. So thankful for these cords of love and the little ways I get to image them to my children.