I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.
I’ve always thought the youngest among us have God on speed-dial--and vice-versa. Don’t believe me? Watch how a little child notices all the tiny details in the world. Butterflies spreading their wings, flowers about to bloom, tiny inchworms scooting along a branch: the littlest among us notice these things while we tend to rush by it all, usually dragging the child along by the hand, begging him to hurry up. We don’t stay still long enough to listen, see or feel these brushes with God.
This past Wednesday, Theo’s class had a Muffins with Mom morning event. Our morning ride to school was filled with excitement as Theo chatted away at what was to come. I couldn’t wait to see Theo as a gruff old Billy Goat, especially since one of his best pals was to play the Troll under the bridge. And it was going to be nice to see the interaction between Theo and “Ms. Kaffwen,” his beloved music teacher.
3 best pals
The other Teddy Bear moms and I walked down to the Music Room, chatting and laughing about new babies who’ve been born, new babies who are due to arrive and how quickly the year has flown by. Two minutes later, our 4 year olds entered.
They did several adorable songs for us, and even showed off an absolutely precious dance (and the word “precious” typically makes me roll my eyes, but there’s really no other adjective to describe their dance).
See this sweet girl with Theo?
Her daddy is our veterinarian.
Make a mental note of that.
The grand finale involved each child making his or her nest out of 2 scarves and pretending to be a bird.
Midway through the song, Theo ran over to me in absolute tears.
A mom knows her child’s cries. This was a hurt cry--a gutteral, ugly, skip-breath type of cry akin to the one you yourself had when you were dumped in high school. It was a red-faced, runny-nosed weep session. At first I thought someone had stepped on his hand or something and hurt him terribly--it was that serious of a cry.
And it went on and on. He wept on my shoulder for the remainder of the music class presentation. He wept as we walked back to his classroom. He stood with his head buried in my shirt and wouldn’t play his role as the Billy Goat. He didn’t want to eat the snack we were to share together.
He only perked up when it was time for me to open his Mother’s Day gift to me.
Oh my: his tiny handprint, cut from clay and fired to make a soap dish--along with homemade soap (he made his smell like strawberries, his favorite fruit). It’s beautiful. It’s perfect. It fits perfectly in my hand--for now.
And yes, the metaphor was already floating around in my head as I felt this smooth, little hand nestled gently in my own. I wish time would slow down. I wish Theo could stay little forever.
When it was time for me to leave, Theo cried again--a rarity. In fact, his 3 incredible teachers each said they’d never seen him so upset.
I drove away from the school, certain they would be calling me to come get him within the hour. I knew something just was not right.
I found out what that not right thing was as soon as I walked in the door.
Our sweet Henny-Penny had passed away.
I've had Henry since he was a puppy. My sons have never known a day of their lives without him. He was 14.
Henry and his brother Alfie navigate the steps leading to my first house in Atlanta. They were about 2.5 months old in this picture.
Henry had a whole lot of personality packed into his little blond furry self. Before he grew too old to jump, he had a penchant for standing on the breakfast table. (Note there is no food on the table; he's just up there to get a better view or to prove a point or something. Bold, that dog.)
He took his beds seriously and would spend tons of time scratching and ruffling around until he had his nest just right. It didn't matter what the nest was made of--towels, a blanket, newspapers, an inflatable Christmas tree (seen below)--Henry was the master of fluffy nest building.
He also was obsessed with burying his food. Or trying to. It's kind of tough to get a hardwood floor to rumple up and cover one's food bowl, but that didn't stop Henry from trying. At every. Single. Meal. Even after he had all but 4 of his teeth removed (or maybe that's especially after he had all but 4 of his teeth removed.)
Henry led a good life.
Scratch that. Henry led a great life.
He was loved tremendously by all.
I know I'm grasping for straws here, but I can't help but think Theo knew in his heart the exact moment Henry passed away. Something strange happened to him at the moment Henry began his new journey--something more than having his scarf accidentally picked up by another "bird" caused such a pitiful, melancholic, helpless torrent of emotion from my 4-year old son. Something rattled his little soul, and Theo is still innocent enough to have felt it; Theo knew something moved out of place in his world, and he didn't know how to react--except to lean into his mother. I'm so very thankful I was there to take his little hand and hold him and comfort him, even though at the time, I had no idea why he was so viscerally upset.
Maybe if we all worked to be a little quieter in our own souls, we could feel such changes, too.
Godspeed, sweet Henny-Bug.
You are so missed but will never, ever be forgotten.
Oh, it is hard to take to heart the lesson that such deaths will teach; but let no man reject it, for it is one that all must learn, and is a mighty universal truth. When death strikes down the innocent...for every fragile form from which he lets the panting spirit free, a hundred virtues rise, in shapes of Mercy, Charity, and Love, to walk the world, and bless it. Of every tear that sorrowing mortals shed on such green graves, some good is born, some gentler nature comes. In the destroyer’s steps there spring up bright creations that defy his power, and his dark path becomes a way of light to heaven.