Showing Love

After I fly him to his bed like Spiderman and wrap him in a blanket like a caterpillar cocooned, I kiss his cheek and he laughs. My beard tickles.

“Again kiss,” he says. And again I kiss.

“I love you. Goodnight.”

Before I make it out the bedroom door he sits up.

“What is love you?”

My head is a flood of answers. And not a one of them fits into words.

Isn’t this the difficult job of a parent? The mystical work for all of us? To define love for all who are asking.


The next day we’re in the garage. “What dis?” he asks and reaches his hand into a box of child sponsorship packets and styrofoam peanuts. Penelope, the six year-old – relishing her new job as big sister – takes great pleasure in slowly and loudly explaining what child sponsorship is – what Daddy’s job is on the weekends.


But he’s lost interest and grabs a handful of peanuts. Then a bag full.

And he’s lost interest again. He wants to put on his new coat and for Penelope to put on hers. It’s hot outside, she explains. “Please,” he says. So she complies and compliments him on his good manners.

As she zips him up she explains that it snows here sometimes and that’s what the coats are for. And he doesn’t understand these words.


She fills a bowl with water. “Whatcha doin’?” She dabs the end of a peanut in it.


She presses the wet peanut to the glass and it sticks. She grins. He does too. Like they’ve just discovered the moon together.

Then another peanut is stuck by small hands to the door.

And another.

“Snow,” she says and he smiles his understanding.

He lowers my lens. “Snow dad!” he points.

“I see. I see.”

This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. -1 John 4:9-10 The Message