I don't know that I've ever posted something by someone else on here - but this following story really touched me. I was cruising through a list of facebook friends that I don't usually get updates on. I found myself on the page of a friend, David, from Junior High. He is now a pastor of a church near Charleston, I believe. Anyway, with his permission, here is his story...enjoy!
In bed, and attempting to hinder my leaving him for the night, Isaac began unsnapping the buttons on my western-styled shirt. This is a funny game to him still for some reason...
It began long ago when he was only turning two and not three he would find his way to my belly button and coyly jab his right index finger as deep in as it would go. I would surprise at the electric-like jolt that radiated from said area and then dutifully proclaim in chastising and joking tones "get out of my bellybutton!" To which Isaac's response would be seizures of glee as he laughed hysterically at this game of trumped up pain, and pretense of intrusion. He would then double his efforts to reach that same spot in order to get a similar faux-reaction of surprise and harassment. Ahh... the crazy little games we play that lead our children into the therapist's office later on in life... but I digress.
Tonight he didn't look for my bellybutton as he pulled at my shirt. Standing there in his room, I sang him "twinkle twinkle little star," and he matched me with word and pitch and my heart soared.
Pulling the last button/snap open, he wraps his arms around me inside of my newly opened shirt, and lays his head on my chest and sighs. "I love you daddy"
"I love you too buddy," My heart brakes. "Isaac, I made a mistake" I started "When you didn't listen earlier about taking the leash off the dog and she ran away, I spanked you and I shouldn't have. I was angry, and what I did was wrong. I'm sorry I hurt you buddy" my voice is high and tears are flowing at this point. "I should have waited, and maybe just put you in time out, will you forgive me?"
He looks up into my face to try and understand what is going on, what he should be feeling in the presence of his father's tears and he begins to weep too. "I love you so much daddy. I'm sorry I took her collar off., I'm sorry I took her collar off, I'm sorry..." I stop him.
"Buddy, you didn't know, the only thing you did wrong was not listen... I forgive you for taking off the collar."
So gently with head still buried in my chest he says, "I forgive you too."
"Does your bottom still hurt?" I ask.
"No, it doesn't hurt anymore"
"Does your heart feel okay?"
"Yes it does," and with bright eyes "We're not sad anymore, daddy! That's so good!" to which we both must smile.
" Daddy," he asks "Can I have that shirt tonight?
I take it off and hand it to him. It smells of me, my work outside, my deodorant, and cologne. I ask as I leave, Do you like to smell daddy when you're in bed?.
A broad smile creeps onto his face. "I do, and, my friends, and Zoe, and caffeine (long story but true words), and food and mommy" You see all of those were the smells on my shirt.
It was then I realized it was more than a comfort trinket for the night. It was the story of his day our day, and our relationship. It was of mowing the grass, playing with the dog, running errands for Life Group, brownies, coffee, kissing on mom, wrestling with his Lifegroup friends, all the food we ate; and buried under everything are deodorant, and the perfume of reconciled emotions to mistakes I made out of frustration and haste.
My shirt tonight, as it is stuffed underneath little boy chin, and little boy arm, represents what it means to truly desire a person. To really take me in for all I am, every heinous act, horrid smell, outside musk, and look deeply into my eyes and say "can I have your shirt tonight?
Of course you can my son...Can I borrow one of yours to snuggle up next to as well? I prefer the one that started out soft in the morning and by mid afternoon felt plastic, and by night you were wearing sandpaper, because of all the food and grit stuck between fibers. That 's the one I want. I want your whole day Ike, right next to me while I sleep.
Yes, I'm a father, I'm weird, but I am so desperately in love with the people God has given me to love, that anything more might cause me to burst.