With arms outstretched, I pull them in.
As if if they were cleaved tightly enough that they would again become intertwined with me as they were in those early days.
Nuzzling softly against my chest as I bend to their crowns to kiss and draw in their essence, with expansive vocabulary of affectionate gestures, I am assured that they are aware of the love that fills the rooms and dances through the halls of this home.
It is omnipresent and unfaltering–Yes, they know they are loved.
But do they know they are liked?
Do they know that even when the days are long and arduous, and words have been sharp, that come mid-afternoon when I, standing at sink with hands in soapy water, catch myself and think, “My goodness, this is the first time I have actually seen her today?”, that it is not the day’s tasks that laid before me that were more esteemed?
Or when, ashamedly, voices are elevated over untidy drawers and misplaced baubles, and disapproving words exchanged, do they know that it is my own selfish sinfulness that I am exposing?
Or, worse yet, do they feel that my said disapproval equates that they are not good enough, that they are not loved, that they are not liked?
For I hope that they are aware when we are all gathered at table, with the bountiful blessings that have been bestowed upon us are being heaped upon dishes, that the jovial exchanges of the days doings are what are most treasured.
Just as a doting friend, I hope they know that I know that, yes, your favorite color is rose, not pink, and that two scoops of vanilla ice cream only taste right in that glass dish, and that come evening the door in the hallway must be closed only this much at the bedtime hour.
Do they know that I know these things not because it is imperative to my responsibility to clothe, shelter and feed, but imperative to my responsibility to know, love and serve?
Do they know that when the days begin to light, I beg of His mercy and for His grace for it is my actions this side of Heaven that I will be most remembered?
It is my hope, when the day comes, when no longer arms can be outstretched to pull them close, and kisses are not placed atop their crowns, it will not be my faults, but my acceptance of them, their knowledge of that they were liked, as well as loved, that will endure.