There’s a baby in my family now, a gorgeous little girl with blue eyes, wisps of mahogany-colored hair, rosebud lips, and cheeks for days. She’s not my baby, but the daughter of a close relative.
As I write this, Posie is eight months old with two teeth half-sprouted from the center of her bottom jaw and a grin that could melt the most stubborn of the polar ice caps.
The other day, we were out for lunch as a family, and Posie, in an uncommonly cheerful mood, sat at the end of the table in a standard restaurant-issue high chair.
After losing her supply of toys and pacifiers to the floor, her teething attentions turned to the high chair’s leg strap as it looped over the front bar. Her mother groaned. “That’s so disgusting. Probably every baby does that.”
Not good. Because it was cold-and-flu season.
Posie’s dad said, “If you move the high chair closer to the table, she won’t be able to get her head down there to chew on it.”
This was good reasoning, so I complied.
For a minute, Posie pressed her forehead—hard—against the table edge, trying in vain to get her mouth down to the strap. When she realized it was futile, she looked at me with her forehead flushed from the pressure of the table, her little jaw slack, and her eyes moist—like I was Judas. Like she was too shocked and hurt by what I’d done even to scream about it. Like I had broken her little heart into pieces.
“Oh, honey…” I murmured before everyone at our table burst into semi-hysterical laughter.
How do you explain to a child who doesn’t even speak her own native language yet that you are denying her pleasure for her own good? I love Posie and I want her to be happy, but her judgment is, quite frankly, terrible. My increased life experience has made mine somewhat better than hers.
I laughed about the incident later, then I remembered some of the many things I wanted throughout my life which were not good for me.
When circumstances conspired to prevent such folly, I was hurt and angry with God, but now I can see Him giving me a pursed lip smile and saying…
“Oh, honey. I know you think you’ve lived long enough to know what’s good, but I’ve been alive forever.”
I thank Him now that He didn’t give me what I thought I wanted back then.
I think about the misguided look of betrayal on Posie’s dear little face, and I hope I remember it next time I don’t get something I think I want.
I hope I pray, “Thank You, God, that You know better.”