14 day: Angels among us
One of the things I miss most about Reed is the adventure known as going to zoos or aquariums. A favorite picture of him was snapped after the touch tank experience with stingrays. Sawyer and Erin participated in the touch tank, but not Reed. For him, it was a full on immersion experience. In the picture, the younger two barely have a wet spot on their clothes. Reed’s shirt looks as if he bodysurfed with stingrays rather than used the tips of his fingers to touch their skin. Most moms would have been upset because we didn’t have a change of clothes. Not this mom! I loved his sense of learning and interacting!
Zoos were always another experience altogether. If there were small animals, he would lay on his belly to get eye-to-eye with them and to “speak” their language. His methodologies always got more than one eyebrow raise, but when you are raising a pint-sized Dr. Doolittle, you learn to ignore the naysayers.
In all of Reed’s years, only one other time did I witness one of his siblings react to animals the same way. On a girls’ trip to Chicago, I took Erin (age four at the time) to the Shedd Aquarium. When we got to the area with the stingray floor – literally a glass floor with stingrays below – I turned around, scanned the area, and discovered Erin was not standing next to me. A quick pan of the room revealed her sprawled out with her tiny face mushed up to the glass, telling me the stingray was the most beautiful of all the sea creatures. Again, more raised eyebrows! I did the only thing a mom of future scientists can do, I acted as a bodyguard making sure no one interrupted her exploration or stomped on her.
Even though we dressed our boys for years to look like Chris and Martin Kratt, my other kids never really showed any evidence of sharing the animal fanatic gene. Oh, we have had various pets, and by various I mean crickets, ladybugs, butterflies, moths, frogs, toads, newts, rabbits, pigeons, fish, cats, and dogs. Even with that eclectic menagerie, no one else has ever run out with sandwiches in their hands on the North Shore to lure in the shorebirds. This adventure was highly successful if you really, REALLY like shorebirds dive bombing you at six years old.
I had pretty well resigned myself to the fact that I would never get to witness the joy of animal interaction (Reed-style) until I get to heaven. Like I said, just one of the many things I miss. But sometimes, I believe the veil is lifted, and a little bit of heaven touches the earth.
While cooking supper a few nights ago, I heard my sweetie summon me to come quickly. I had a few pots on the fire (literally); so, it took me a bit to find where he was located. Outside the closed bathroom door, I inquired, “Are you in there?” wondering what in the mayonnaise was I getting myself into. An urgent “yes” and “you’ve got to see this” had me even more baffled.
My eyes filled with tears when I walked onto the marble floor. There on the floor sat Sally Gal with the most relaxed hamster I had ever seen. The best way to describe the scene is he was splayed out on his belly, looking like a tiny “bearskin” rug. My husband then urged our littlest one to show me what happens if she put him down. She complied by moving Lord Business (our tiny furry friend’s name) to the floor. He swiftly and promptly scurried up her seated leg and went onto her outstretched hand where he repeated his relaxed stance.
There we were, all three (well four if you count the hamster) cooped up in that bathroom. I know Reed’s spirit was there. His animal whisperer tendencies breathe through every song she sings to her little buddy. His gentle and humble spirit was there when in their first few days of knowing each other she showed her new pet that despite their size difference, she would never harm him. I could almost picture Reed, glasses askew, red hair a mess with his nose right down to her palm to get the best view in the room.
It is in these moments that I vividly remember this is exactly why God sent his son. Those sacred places where we get a glimpse of our loved ones through a whispered memory. Because of God’s son, one day I will see my son again. When I look at it that way, heaven doesn’t seem so far away.
And every day Reed feels closer when I look in the eyes of one special little girl.