When my oldest grandson was a toddler I used to ‘kidnap’ him on the weekends. We’d do all sorts of little things together. The simple things in everyday life were special because we were doing them together.
I lived a couple of blocks from a small park. It was not one with swings or a playground of any sort. Rather it was a place where you could sit and enjoy nature, maybe take a leisurely stroll or toss a ball. Even though there were no rides for my grandson, it was our favorite place.
Yet in our favorite place lurked a danger. It could loom under a rock, in a tree stump, or hide in a pile of dirt, or even in the grass. When we first visited this place, the danger attacked my grandson and we quickly called them ‘bugs-that-bite’. (Saying it really fast, as though it were one word!)
Eventually, I introduced him to their true name – red ants. I loved the way he said it. He would draw out the word red throwing his head back as he did, then lean forward for ‘ants’, quickly finishing with ‘bugs-that-bite’. I can still hear the echo of his cute voice.
So at the end of our weekend together, before I took him home, we would take a walk to the park and look for ‘Re-e-e-ed ants, bugs-that-bite’. And as we strolled along, avoiding the danger of these critters, we recounted all that we did together.
We talked about the song we sang in the car when I picked him up (Over the river and through the woods to Nonna’s house we go. J ) We talked about what we had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We laughed over fun times, like playing with his ducks in the bubble bath and squirting me with water. We talked about the story books we read and the people we saw. We would even talk about the booboos he got – sometimes because he was doing something he shouldn’t, or someone else was and he got hurt because of it.
It was a sweet time of recalling our time together – both good and bad. It was a precious time, one that I treasure in my heart as I talk to the now 16-year-old as he contemplates the future. No matter where he goes or what he does, we will always have that walk of recounting our time together.
And just last week all this came flooding back to me as I read the Torah portion Massei, which means ‘journeys’. In Numbers 33, before God brought the Israelites home to the Promised Land, He recounted all they had done together – the good and the bad.
Why? Because it was a precious time for God with His people, one that He treasures in His heart.