~ A Baby's Hug ~
We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat
Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking.
Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby
hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his
mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with
I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants
were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be
shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His
whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it
looked like a road map.
We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.. His hands
waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see
ya, buster,' the man said to Erik.
My husband and I exchanged looks,
'What do we do?'
Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.'
Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The
old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and
the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake? Do you know
peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.'
Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.
My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik,
who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in
turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to
pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat
poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here before he
speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my
back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I
did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's
'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself
from my arms to the man.
Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love
and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his
tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw
tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard
labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever
loved so deeply for so short a time.
I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his
eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice,
'You take care of this baby.'
Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone.
He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in
pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've
given me my Christmas gift.'
I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for
the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so
tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.'
I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny
child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a
mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a
child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your
son for a moment?' when He shared His for all eternity. How did God
feel when he put his baby in our arms 2000 years ago.
The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of
God , we must become as little children.'
If this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on. Sometimes, it
takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always
remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel
about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house
that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow
man that identifies who you are.
This one is a keeper.
'It is better to be liked for the true you, than to be loved for who people
think you are......