I walk through the kitchen with a basket full of dirty laundry, and I catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye. Hands clasped, big baby blue eyes gazing intently at me, patiently waiting in her bouncy seat as I complete some tasks. Suddenly, my arms are painfully aware of the weight of the cold, hard, plastic basket, and I long to snuggle the bundle of baby chub to my heart.
She waits so patiently, my baby Faith. She seems to know that I often feel so busy and pulled in so many different directions at once.
It’s as if she has already accepted her little cross that comes with the joy of being the fifth baby: the cross of sometimes being a bit overlooked when older children are vocalizing their needs more loudly than she is; the cross of sometimes settling for a few minutes of entertainment from older siblings rather than the immediate comfort of Mom’s arms; the cross of learning the meaning of sacrifice and self-donative love at the tender age of three months.
But my darling Faith bears her little cross with the grace of a seasoned saint. Her even-tempered personality is ever-joyful with a ready smile and the sweet baby coos that delight the heart. She seems to have already accepted God’s will for her as she fulfills her role of fifth child, and I find myself wanting to remind her that it’s okay to listen to the desires of her heart--it’s okay to cry out in thirst not only for my milk, but also for the only type of love that can quench our arid souls.
So I drop my laundry basket and scoop her up. She snuggles her sweet baby cheek next to mine as her little body relaxes in the love of my embrace.
Sometimes attachment parenting isn’t just about being in tune with the needs our children know how to express--it’s about revealing to them the needs that lie in the depths of their hearts. It’s about teaching them that just as we long for their love, so does God long for us.
Were not two of Jesus’ last words, “I thirst”? Even after being beaten, humiliated, and abandoned, He expressed to us not only His bodily thirst, but also His thirst for souls--His deep longing to be one with us in heaven.
And so my house will remain in its seemingly constant state of toys strewn about, piles of laundry waiting to be folded, and muddy footprints in the bathroom. My primary task is to take the time to show my children the glorious love that awaits them in heaven, the type of relationship that can turn two into one, and the ever-present hand of God that is continuously and persistently reaching out to us.
I will continue to try to know what my children need before they ask me, just as our Father in heaven does, and I will encourage my children to seek what is good for them--to seek that for which they truly thirst.
Previously published at Catholic Attachment Parenting Corner.
Copyright 2013 Charisse Tierney
About the Author
Charisse Tierney lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Rob and seven children. Charisse is a stay-at-home mom, musician, NFP teacher, and a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist in training. She is also a contributing author to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion and Family Foundations magazine. Charisse blogs at Paving the Path to Purity and can be found on Facebook.