Attaching

IMG_1260Last week my sister-in-law babysat Sam (as she is doing now), and I surprised myself by feeling a little sad when he left. I don’t remember feeling this way last spring.

I think I’m finally attaching to Sam because he is attaching to me. We’ve had time to get to know one another, and now he interacts. He registers all kinds of positive emotions in response to my voice, my presence, my touch—joy, delight, contentment. And best of all, he says “mom-mom.” If ever there was a way to melt a mom’s heart, it’s her baby saying her name.

He woke me one night last week in the 1 a.m. region, not really hungry, but just wanting to cuddle. So I held him and I rocked him, and in his sweet little voice he said “mom-mom,” “mom-mom,” against my chest. I wasn’t angry about getting up that night.

A week ago Sunday he stayed with my husband at my in-laws’ for a couple of hours while I did other things. After two hours, Buc texted to say Sam was being “awful,” and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. But after I got there, Sam was fine. He hardly fussed the rest of the day.

We chalked it up to separation anxiety, and I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon ever since. While separation anxiety makes my job as a mom harder, seeing evidence that he actually needs me, and me specifically, is changing my heart.

I’m starting to feel more of the “mom” feelings I’ve read about, such as that fierce love that puts baby above all else, and that righteous indignation at the thought that someone could ever mistreat or abuse him. I understand better the verse that says “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2, NIV).

A God who understands parental love, who created parents and children, and who is a parent himself, authored that. How much he loves us.

I consider that my love for Sam, though it is growing, is still imperfect. I can’t fathom being as loving, giving, and self-sacrificing as Jesus was when he came to this earth, walked with us, suffered like us and for us, and died for us. But with Sam, I begin to see why and how a God could do that. It’s because he is a Father.

The amazing thing is that often we, unlike an eight-month-old baby, ignore our Father, hardly speak his name, and act like we don’t need him. Could I be so giving to my son if he treated me so indifferently? I hope so, but I’m not sure. Would I feel attached to him right now if he hadn’t recently attached to me? But God demonstrated his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I’m so glad God’s love doesn’t depend on my actions—as it seems my love for Sam (sometimes) depends on his. Incidentally, Sam gave me another tough night last night (fewer “moms,” more tears), and today I wasn’t nearly so sad to leave him. I am praying for more of Christ’s love for Sam: namely, an attachment to him that would make me willing to suffer and die for him, if need be.

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6 thoughts on “Attaching

  1. Sasha September 26, 2014 / 1:32 pm

    Beautiful!

    • lindseygendke September 26, 2014 / 2:53 pm

      Thanks for reading, Sasha! I’m looking forward to following your blog, too!

  2. ccyager September 27, 2014 / 9:12 am

    What a great photo of Sam! Look at those intelligent eyes….(smile) He looks healthy and happy. I suspect you will enjoy a wide range of emotions and attachment as time goes on, just as he will for you. It is a fallacy that a child’s love for a parent is indestructible and vice versa. Treat him with love and respect, and he will treat you that way also. I’m sure you will! Every day will be an adventure…..

    • lindseygendke October 3, 2014 / 12:07 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Cinda. I am pretty partial to this picture, and the photographed, myself! I agree that love can be damaged, so we must guard it very carefully! My new adventure for today is caring for Sam while he has fever and a stomach bug. Today I have given up my babysitter (and my only certain writing time this week) to care for Sam, but it’s worth it. Cheers!

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