Caleb and I have a little ritual. The Pick Me ritual. When he climbs into my lap for a cuddle, when we’re dancing around the living room in crazy circles or playing at the park, when I tuck him into bed for the night, sometimes I’m just overwhelmed by waves of mushy mommy love for this irrepressible tornado of a boy that God has given me.
“You know what?” I ask him.
“What?” he replies, already grinning because he knows what’s coming.
“If I could choose any little boy out of all the little boys in the whole, wide world to be my son, I would pick….YOU!”
“Me?” he asks, smiling big.
“Yes, you,” I confirm, before we both collapse into tickles and laughter. I soak up these moments like rays of fall sunlight, knowing that four years old quickly becomes fourteen and that time swallows up childhood rituals faster than Caleb eats chocolate chip cookies.
Sometimes it’s Caleb who initiates the exchange. Especially when we’ve had a tough day, a day filled with “don’t”s and whining and mutual irritations, when he and I are at odds with each other and obligation has temporarily eclipsed delight in the parent-child bond, I often find him at my elbow, looking up at me and asking, “Will you pick me, Mom?”
So I do. “You know what?” “What?” Big grin. We go through the whole thing again, and by the end of it we’re both smiling, remembering once more the joy of being loved for exactly who you are.
Sometimes Caleb asks me to “pick” Katie, or Daddy. He listens as I choose Katie from all the little girls on the planet, as I single Paul out from all the world’s “grown up boys.” I think it’s his way of affirming and enjoying the sense of being part of our family. He reminds me that we all belong to each other, that we are drawn together out of the world to make this unit, this place of safety and acceptance and growth and trust. The four of us.
It’s a good feeling, being picked. I want my children to grow up knowing that feeling. That way, I hope, one day they’ll be able to fully recognize God’s love in picking us to be His children. They’ll take hold of His invitation with both hands. They’ll fearlessly give themselves up to belonging to Him in the same way.
They’ll pick Him back.