I spent the better part of this afternoon mending holes in the softest of my youngest son’s treasures. Even at the manly age of eight, this tender-hearted child loves his stuffed animals. At any given time, his bedroom floor is peppered with plush downy critters of all varieties. I caught him on the Toys R Us website today, eying a stuffed hamster. A stuffed hamster! Aren’t the living ones disposable? I guess, in that case, a stuffed one makes more sense.
But anyway, he deposited a pile of fluffy, damaged creatures at my feet today. Then he turned his big blues eyes upon me. Normally I am able to delay such a mundane task with excuses of one sort or another. Laundry. Vacuuming. Cooking dinner. Sawing my hand off. But today was different. My little man spent two hours in the dental chair this morning, getting two teeth extracted. He was so brave, and he looked so small as he clutched one of his stuffed dogs to him the entire time. When I got him home, he was still a little bleary-eyed from the Nitrose gas, and the packing in his little cheeks made him look like a cherubic angel, as he dozed in and out on the couch. So, when he felt better later, and proposed surgery on his furry friends, I hadn’t the heart to refuse. Now, I am not made to do fine motor sedentary tasks. I find myself getting extremely grumpy the more tedious the task. Would you say that threading and rethreading a needle with 75 different colors of thread to match a zoo full of stuffed animals, fake fur and sewing up a bazillion tiny little holes to prevent extremely small beady thingies from falling out would qualify as much tedium?
And so…I found myself getting crosser by the second, long abandoned by my blue-eyed, toothless son, who had moved on to much more exciting things. But he kept checking back on this important process, and the animals disappeared one by one, as each surgery was completed. I had to temper my impatience as he visited each patient and waited eagerly to spirit them away to play. When I stepped outside of my irritability for a minute, I was aware of the giggles echoing down the stairs as my little guy and his older brother resurrected these long disabled animals into an intricate story of make-believe.
How lovely was that sound, the sound of innocent joy. And it felt so good to hear it that it almost made me cry. I found myself wondering how long those little hands would be happy holding onto something so small as a stuffed animal. How much longer would he find joy in such simple things? I wondered about the first time the tender heart would be broken. I wondered about the times in the future when his big blue eyes would reflect sadness; wondered about the times his spirit would be crushed. As I looked at the needle and thread in my hands I realized that I would not always be able to mend the holes that he brings before me. And especially the ones he might choose to hide from me. So I began to pray. Each time I pulled the needle through the plush material in my hands, I imagined God moving His healing hands over my sons. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs, so I know He is an expert at such things. I have to trust Him with my boys. But I’ll never stop praying for them.
The operation was a success. And I only drew blood a couple of times. I’m so glad that our Heavenly Father is a better craftsman than me!