Monday, August 10, 2009

Finding Our Way

One of my dearest friends, the one I call mi Hermana, just sent me a book in the mail, called Oliver Finds His Way. It arrived at the perfect moment. Her inscription read:
"Even though this is from my toddler world, I'm pretty sure you'll get the parallel."
How could I not? We often compare her life with toddlers to my life with teenagers, and laugh about how similar our plights and preparations are. (Someday I'll do a post about that, too.)

Two weeks ago, this friend came to visit from California, with her adorable toddlers in tow. We rolled in the grass with a litter of brand new puppies, and a couple of days later we (just the two of us) went hiking in the woods. For hours. Trying to make up for the face time we haven't had in about two years. It was essential.

Of course one of the things weighing heaviest on my mind at the time was how I could prepare our home for Josh's return. And many of you have asked how that first-in-nearly-five-months homecoming went.

Well, allow me to quote from the picture book about the little lost bear:
While Mama hangs the wash out and Papa rakes the yard, Oliver chases a big yellow leaf...all the way to the edge of the woods. Oliver stops. He looks around. Nothing is familiar. Mama? Papa? he calls. No answer. Oliver is lost!

All alone at the edge of the woods, Oliver has an idea.
"Roar! R o a r! R O A R!"

From far away, under a tree, around a bush, and up a hill, Oliver hears Mama roaring back. Oliver hears Papa roaring back. Oliver runs and runs...under the twisty tree, around the clumpy bush, up the hill, all the way to his very own house with a pile of leaves and wash on the line. All the way to Mama and Papa with tumble-down hugs...and a big yellow leaf just for Oliver.
So, in a nutshell, Josh found his way home. With a radiant countenance and a heart at peace. It was wonderful to have him here, even for a few days. I couldn't get over how good he looks, how helpful he was, how content he seemed just to be with us, to be Home. We welcomed him with tumble-down hugs (love that phrase!) and I hope that, like the bear in the book, he found at home what he'd wandered off in search of in the first place.

Few people know of my fondness-bordering-on-0bsession for children's books. Their beauty — and their ability to capsulize universal truths — astounds me. I sat down on the couch in the family room and read this one aloud, for the first-time, to our 10-year-old. I tried not to choke up when I got to the part where Oliver listens for his parents and finds his way home. And couldn't help myself when I read about the tumble-down hugs.

If I could remind our son Josh of anything at all after his first visit home, it would be that any longing for home we feel is a soft echo of the way our spirits innately yearn for our Heavenly Home. (Where someday I hope they'll welcome us back with tumble-down hugs!)


Kristina P. said...

I am so glad you had a good visit! I hope it continues. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

Charrette, you are so beautiful. I'm so glad your Oliver came home safe to tumbledown hugs and his own yellow leaf. He never could have done it without your roars. *hugs*

Melanie J said...

I'm so happy that things went well. You are such an amazing spirit. I think Heavenly Father is very glad you got Josh's to nurture.

Kimberly said...

I'm feeling a really strong need to go give my girls some tumble-down hugs...this was so beautiful, hun. And the gladness I feel for you and your boy returning how is so great it's stretching my heart in wonderful ways.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Awe.some. And Oliver is one very lucky little bear, if you get my drift.

Mrs4444 said...

I would love to give YOU a tumble-down hug or two! :) Maybe some day.... Glad you and your son had a happy reunion.

Kazzy said...

Oh, I am so so glad that the visit went well. Josh is a lucky boy to have you and J for parents. And I know that even in the mess of things that you are glad to have him as a son.

Your little family is never far from our thoughts.

Eowyn said...

I want that book! I love children's books for the same reason you do. I also border on obsessive in that regard.

So glad your visit went well!

Brillig said...

"tumble-down hugs" is an awesome phrase. LOVE it. The whole book sounds darling. I think I'll go get it (for my toddlers, though I agree that it's perfect for teenagers too!)

Glad the visit was a good one. And I love the "longing for home" parallel.

Roban said...

I love children's books, too, and how they talk to us at any age.... Sounds like tumbledown hugs were what everyone needed when your son got home.... and happy that you had this wonderful reunion with him.

deb said...

and through the tears, she sings,

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as your living
My baby you'll be

I'll Love You Forever, Robert Munsch, big sobs always.

prayers for this hug to endure
and thank you for taking time to gift me,
what an encouragement you are

Sandy M. said...

So wonderful to know that things went well for you all! I'm very happy for you.
People really can change :)

On my tombstone one day it will read 'Home at last' :)

LisAway said...

How does one respond to a post like this? You make commenting so difficult for me. You are an amazing writer and thinker and be-er.

That book is just lovely. Have you read You Are Special by Max Lucado? Holy Hannah, there's a good one. My sister gave a copy to each member of my family a few years ago. I love it and my kids get the analogy and love it, too.

Jenna Consolo said...

Wow. I came over from Luisa's site for her contest, and I am so moved by this post! I'll have to search around your blog and find out more to the story, but I'm so happy for you both, either way. I too share a fondness for children's literature.

Little GrumpyAngel said...

I have a lump in my throat reading this. I don't know details but somehow I understand. A hug from me to you.