A Baby’s Hug – –

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We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, “Hi.” He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. “Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,” the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged looks, “What do we do?”

Erik continued to laugh and answer, “Hi.”

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, “Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.”

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. “Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,” I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s “pick-me-up” position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved more deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, “You take care of this baby.”

Somehow I managed, “I will,” from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, “God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.”

I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, “My God, my God, forgive me.”
by Nancy L. Dahlberg

{[This part added by someone else] I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, “Are you willing to share your son for a moment?” when He shared His for all eternity.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, “To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become [innocent] as little children.”

If this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on. Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you are.}

Thanks to Lawrence at MPI Direct

Thanks to Ellen for the notice that this post needed an author citation. I post both funny and “glurgey” things here that I receive in my e-mail. Knowing that this author was not cited is important.

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About turtlemom3

Early 70’s Orthodox Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, nurse with PhD, disabled. Have wonderful service dog - Warrior! Married to the Ol’ Curmudgeon - and I’m pretty doggone happy about that! Interests: Orthodox Christianity; reading; service dogs; computers, woodworking Greatest Life Experiences: Converting to Orthodoxy, Caving in Idaho, Attending Russian Orthodox Choir Conference (Oh! that music!). Favorite Things Back in High School: Reading; classical music - nerdy things. Favorite Things Back in College: Reading; classical music - nerdy things Favorite Things to do Now: Reading; classical music, computer stuff, surfing the internet - nerdy things - no real change! Favorite TV Programs: Anything about Sci-fi or forensics - or both? Favorite Movies: The Chosen; Ostrov; 84 Charing Cross Rd; Air Force One; Becket; Indiana Jones; Star Wars; Favorite Music: Russian Orthodox (Christian) chant; Bach; Mozart's Magic Flute Favorite Quote: The body is a slave, the soul a sovereign, and therefore it is due to Divine mercy when the body is worn out by illness: for thereby the passions are weakened, and a man comes to himself; indeed, bodily illness itself is sometimes caused by the passions.”~*~ St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions Favorite Authors: Robert Heinlein; Mercedes Lackey; Anne MacCaffrey, Fr. Steven Ritter, Sarah Elizabeth Cowrie, St. Nikolai Velimirovic - among many others

2 responses »

  1. I went looking for this story today and am furious that it is uncited all over the place. This was written by Nancy L. Dahlberg and published in at least two of William Baush’s books. This is (a) stolen and (b) changed. It properly ends at “My God, my God, forgive me” other sentences are changed as well. Nancy L. Dahlberg is an ordained Christian minister and deserves to have her work properly cited and shared in it’s original form, or if not, noted as changed. You may have received it as an anonymous email, but someone has actually plagiarized this.

  2. Thank you, Ellen, for the heads-up! I’ve modified the post to reflect that Nancy L. Dahlberg is the author. I could not find the original source on the web so that I could give a complete citation, but at least her name is now properly attributed to the post.
    Cheerio!
    Turtlemom3

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