Tugs We Cannot Name

Cadence in Lala’s Rocker. 2008. 

An Overwhelmed Heart

“Do you know what tomorrow is, Cadence?” I asked as I tucked the tiny toddler, not yet two, into the vast queen-size bed in our guest room. He blinked.

“Tomorrow is Mother’s Day! And your mommy will be back tomorrow. She’s going to meet us after church and we’ll all spend Mother’s Day together. Can you say, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’?”

“Appy Mudders Day,” Cadence repeated, smiling.

“Can you say, ‘I love you, Mommy’?”

I watched as his happy little face collapsed into anguish, deflating my heart as it went. Tears flooded his eyes and raced down his cheeks. I gathered my grandson to me. “You miss your mommy, don’t you? It’s okay. You’re just spending one night with Papa Rich and me, then Mommy will take you home tomorrow. Shhh, shhh,” I murmured, holding him close, rubbing his heaving back and rocking the tears away.

After sleep claimed him I tiptoed down the stairs and told my husband what had happened. “Poor little Cadence,” I said.

He didn’t have the words to tell me he misses his mommy, but when I asked him to say ‘I love you, Mommy,’ that missing just overwhelmed his little heart. He cried and cried.”

We all feel tugs at our hearts that we can’t name, don’t we? My toddler grandson wisely attended to the unknown pulling, living it as it came to him, letting it draw tears from him.

This is childhood’s gift, thriving because we expect to not-yet-know things, growing because we accept the mysteries that present themselves every day.

And here, being a grown-up hurts me. I have forgotten how to not-yet-know. So when I feel that insistent tugging, I search my mind for its name. And when I cannot name it, I ignore it.

Or worse, I decide it isn’t real.

In this new year, I’m going to stop ignoring and dismissing the unknown pulls. In this new year, I will remember how to not-yet-know.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:18-21 (NASB)