In last month’s post, I mentioned the pleasure gained from having a simple family vacation and then coming back home to sleep blissfully in my own bed. In today’s story — oh, baby! — how I’m reminded that pure love comes in small, sweet packages!
A vehicle pulls up to our house, and I look out the window in surprise. I step outside with my daughter and call toward the driveway, “Hi! I didn’t know you were going to come in your police car!”
My friend steps out of the car in full uniform and returns my greeting as he reaches into the back seat.
“Oh, no,” I add, “my neighbor is home. He’s really going to give me a hard time for seeing your car at my house! He teases me all the time.”
Pulling a baby carrier out of the seat, my friend stands up and faces me. “What does he tease you about?”
“Everything! He has quite a sense of humor!”
The words barely escape my lips before I hear a loud voice behind me slowly calling, “Haaa! Haaa!! Haaa!! HAAAAH!!!”
I shake my head and look over my shoulder as Mr. Ferguson‘s screen door clicks closed across the street. My friend and I look at each other with raised eyebrows and burst out laughing before heading into the house.
The cool air conditioning feels refreshing compared to the midday sun outside. “You can set her carrier on the couch for now, if you want,” I suggest as we cross through the kitchen and into the living room.
As he places the car seat carrier onto the sofa lounger, my daughter and I eagerly crane our necks to peek inside. The beautiful blue eyes of his four-month-old baby girl look back at us, blinking sleepily.
I, of course, comment on how adorable she is and then begin to chat about her with my daughter. Suddenly, I realize that my officer friend has grown silent and still. I look up to see him staring at his tiny girl with a serious expression on his face.
“This is so hard,” he states aloud while continuing to stare at the precious bundle cradled in the car seat.
After a fleeting moment of contemplation, I ask in a surprised voice, “Is this the first time you’ve left her with a babysitter?”
“Not even family?!”
“No,” he answers, briefly glancing my way before continuing to gaze at his daughter. (He later explains that they had left her in relatives’ care before, but “not for long” and “we were never more than a block away.”)
I gape at him incredulously. “Wow, I’m honored! I’m really honored that you trust us to watch her!”
After several cuddles and kisses with his baby daughter, my friend reluctantly leaves to attend a special police training drill for the afternoon.
My daughter and I thoroughly enjoy an hour of entertainment with the now-alert infant. We watch her explore her wiggly toes, work her gums over on her teething toy, and react to the silly faces we make at her. She practices her new-found skill of rolling onto her stomach, but becomes more fussy each time she is unable to roll back. It’s easy to see that nap time is overdue.
Rocking in the recliner fails to lull her to sleep, so my daughter hands her to me to try a different method. I hold the tired babe against my shoulder as I walk around the room, patting her rhythmically on the back as I had seen her mother do during past visits to our house.
She is such pleasant and quiet girl. Even her loudest cries seem to be half the volume of most babies I’ve encountered. Her protests dwindle as I stand near the living room window gently swaying back and forth. Her sweet smell and warm snuggles send memories flooding back to my mind — memories of dancing my daughter around her room each night while singing “Jesus Loves Me” into her tiny ear.
That bedtime ritual was especially loved by my daughter. As she got older, she would sometimes ask me to sing to her “like you did when I was little.” The last few times, she was so tall that her feet nearly dragged the floor when I held her.
I am stirred out of my reverie when I notice a small forehead tapping on my shoulder. Our young guest is finally losing the fight to stay awake and can successfully be transferred back to my daughter’s arms in the recliner.
My tall teen smiles in pure contentment while studying the sleeping baby on her shoulder, and I get a glimpse of what the future may hold for her in a few short years. How amazing…where has the time gone? My heart swells with feelings of love and peace, and perhaps a twinge of nostalgia, too.