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
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
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's.
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 so 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 sounded as if it 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
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."
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 as little children."
If this has blessed you, please bless others by sending it on.