It starts with an umbilical cord. Blood and nutrients pumping into an unborn babe, connecting the baby to its mother. The first thread of life.
And on the day of his or her birth, the umbilical is cut, relinquishing that baby to the world.
But the tie, the lifeline, the invisible binding to its mother, it never ends.
It just changes.
You hear it in the newborn cry. You feel it as she holds her baby close for hours on end. You witness it as she cries and laughs over milestones and the passage of time.
The cords of a family. How ironic that getting married is often referred to as tying the knot. Vows that weave two souls together, joining them as one.
And as the years pass, another soul and another life often grow out of that bond, that promise, that love.
A tapestry of family. Beautiful, heartbreaking, vibrant, unspeakable in both its complexity and simplicity.
When I was a young girl, my best friend shared these Bible verses with me: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
These words have stuck with me throughout my life. They are written on the tablet of my heart. And as life fluctuates and changes, turns and drops, hovers and soars, I draw such comfort from them.
I am bound with Christ. I am woven into His plan, His purpose, His love.
I am tied to my husband. I am threaded into his house, his love, his heart.
And our children, they are irrevocably woven into our very beings.
Embodiments of our love.
I can feel the tug and pull of them.
Sometimes it makes my sanity fray. Other times, it unwinds the tension of painful knots and unnecessary twists as they remind me what truly matters. Sometimes, it’s a rope so taut that I fear it may snap, and yet, it’s saved by a Source that strengthens and reinforces even on my worst days.
Yesterday, while my kids played at the park, I felt those ties with renewed clarity.
My daughter would call out for her brother every few words, trying her best to find him in a sea of children and attempting with all her might to do all the things he was doing. But while he surged ahead excitedly, she hesitated. She looked back. She held up her hands. She cried, “Mom!” making sure I was only a step or two behind.
As my son climbed ladders and slid down tunnel slides without assistance, I could see the thread of his adventurous spirit pulling away from me. I could feel the knot loosening as he stepped out as his own person, full of exuberance and joy and a little orneriness.
While my daughter searched for me, it reminded me how short this stage really is. My children are only a year and half apart. Next spring, she’ll run ahead with abandon, chasing down her own fun. She won’t need my hand in hers. She won’t need me to shadow her every movement. She will probably demand to do things her own way and bemoan my assistance.
But even as the space between us lengthens . . .
Even as times passes . . .
Even as they grow . . .
That cord will always remain, visibly and invisibly tied to my heart.
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