"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!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.
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.
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!)