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Saturday, August 17, 2013

I'm right behind you

A new and exciting game Jude has recently insisted on playing is a rather dangerous one, too.  Jude explores, and a specifically fun area of the house to explore is the staircase.  He does a great job navigating our home and knows all the routes, including those to and from the stairs.  Going up the staircase seems to capture his attention in a unique way.

In many ways, watching Jude go up and down the stairs is a comforting sight.  He needs this skill if he is to rightly maneuver his world, and his achievement in doing so was seen as a milestone at first.  But, now, his summit is seen simply as a daredevil tempting fate.  Part of our fear as Jude's parents is in the far fall awaiting at the base of the stairs.  Jude sees, and until he experiences, knows, none of the fall.

In attempts to gauge how independent Jude truly is, I will tip-toe or follow quietly behind him as he ascends the steps.  Alone, he plays.  Up two, then down one, and on and on.  All the while I watch with arms at the ready, unannounced to the happy little climber.

The game becomes really interesting when no more steps remain in his climb.  It is at the point in which he reaches the top, the highest point to fall from, where Jude usually stands up, claps for himself, and begins to teeter backwards.  And as only one's parent can, I wait for him to realize he's gone too far and is falling out of control.

It is here where I reach my arms out, before he falls too far and becomes too hurt.  In this, Jude realizes his dad has, for the moment, stopped the fall and, at least temporarily, saved the day.  My presence is known so I make the best use of it, by reminding Jude how dangerous stairs can be and how he'd better remember to go slow.

On the occasions that I've caught Jude from certain fall, it's often been my prayer that God follows in a similar way behind my movements.  I believe he allows me to move freely, make decisions for myself, and even begin to lose control.  And, at that point where nothing stands between me and life's crashing fall, he catches me, gathers me in, and reminds me to go slow.

St. Jude: Pray for us.