Piglet: Mama, do you love me?
Me: Why yes, Piglet.
Piglet: Are you sure?
Me: Oh yes, with all my heart.
Piglet: Really? Really?
Me: Yes, dear. Really.
Piglet: How much do you love me?
Me: One hundred and ten percent!
Piglet: What’s that?
Me: I love you. One. hundred. and. ten. percent.
Piglet: What does that mean, Mama?
Me: It means, “More than more.”
He pauses. Then smiles. Then runs off to do what four year old boys do best.
That’s right, Piglet. I love you more than more.
Like any other four year old, Piglet loves extra cuddles at bedtime.
But every child is different just as no two snowflakes are identical, and when Piglet was only three years old he surprised me with an endearing goodnight greeting as I tucked him in.
It was this:
Piglet (to me): Goodnight, palak paneer.
(Palak paneer is a vegetarian North Indian dish consisting of spinach and paneer in a thick sauce made from puréed spinach and seasoned with garlic, garam masala, and other spices – Wikipedia.)
Me (to him): Goodnight, roti canai.
(Roti canai or roti prata is a type of Indian-influenced flatbread found in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – Wikipedia.)
Needless to say, Piglet was delighted with my response and this special goodnight exchange still features occasionally on some evenings with a few winks thrown in for good measure.
But this week another recurrence of palak paneer and roti canai during our bedtime circuit made me reflect on Piglet’s recent question, “Do you love me?” and our conversation that followed.
It struck me suddenly how my answer was both true and false.
True, because I really do love Piglet more than he can imagine. More and more.
False, because every day I can recount instances in which my love for him has been far from perfect, muddied here and there with the likes of a glare for dilly-dallying over dinner or when my patience is worn thin stretched out by other needs.
And so one morning during our breakfast of oats and cranberries and honey I fessed up to Piglet.
I told him how much I really do TRY to love him one hundred and ten percent but there was no way I could do it perfectly no matter how hard I tried.
He looked at me, not quite comprehending.
So I said again, “Piglet, you know I love you.”
“But I’m like you,” I went on. “I make mistakes. Like the time you spilled the water and I got angry? You know, I wish I didn’t make mistakes. But I do and I always will. You make mistakes, don’t you? But that doesn’t mean you don’t love me, right?”
He got that.
This only-four-year-old got that.
And we got on to talking about what really mattered.
Because what REALLY matters in the big scheme of things is not so much Piglet or me or our failures, but the God Who Is Above It All.
Not that our mistakes don’t matter, but that God can redeem them.
He can help us make it right.
He is a God of second chances.
And you know what, Piglet? God our heavenly Father never makes mistakes.
He will always love you perfectly. One hundred and ten percent perfectly.
I’m trying my level best, Piglet. You don’t know how much it hurts to think of the ways I’ve let you down. But when I’m in that place that makes you feel you can’t make me understand what you need, you can cry to God and ask Him to help me understand.
You can tell Him how mad and sad you feel.
You can always be sure He will do the best for you.
Oh, I’m so glad God is carrying you in His everlasting arms.
He can do what I cannot.
He can go where I cannot go.
His hand is upon you day and night.
He can make all things work together for good for those who love Him.
He will never leave you or forsake you. EVER.
His plans for you are perfect.
Know my God, Piglet.
And walk with Him.
“And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
(Piglet: 4yo 4mos.)