Every other Sunday, the pastor will announce from the lectern, "The children are invited up to gather around for the Children's Message."
About this time, Man Child will look at me with those darling 9 year old eyes and say, "Can I go?"
Yeah, he is SIXTEEN now, but will always be my NINE year old. The little boy full of big dreams and energy. The little boy who looked at me and said, "Mommy, I will always stay home and take care of you."
Melt my heart.
He knows he will always be that little boy who stole my heart.
Of course I always nudge him and say,
"Yes! Go if you would like to!"
....and I get that giggle as he settles back in his seat.
There was a surprise this week though.
The family sitting in the pew with us.....a Mom and two of her daughters. The littlest one in her sparkly princess dress, ready for the Princess Birthday Party she had been invited to after church and the older daughter in her zipped up, sporty, nylon jacket....the tomboy showing through this Sunday. Little Princess immediately jumped from her seat and excused her way passed my knees and Man Child's knees. She turned to look at her sister who remained seated. Her pleading eyes saying.....come on, let's go, it's time! Mom looks at her with warm eyes and whispers, "Your sister doesn't want to go up today."
As her eyes fell to the ground in sadness, I nudged the Man Child.
His hand went out immediately and he asked if he could go up with her. Her eyes lit with such joy as she grabbed his hand and led him up toward the altar of the church and proudly sat down. Her smile stretch ear to ear.
Man Child sat down, criss-cross applesauce, next to his new friend, a tower of a man compared to the small children that surrounded him. He listened with her. He prayed with her. She watched him so carefully.
Little Princess had such joy in her new friend and I was so proud of him. As the kids stood up at the end of the message, he reached to take her hand to return to our pew. All I could think was.....
Man Child, you are my hero!