They say that the reason people have long shaken hands with their right hands was to signal that we came in peace and we’re not dangerous. They say that when dogs roll over and show you their belly, it’s an indication of trust and deliberate vulnerability. Funnily enough, it’s the same thing when they look at you while they go to the bathroom—they are exposed, but are looking at you because they know you’ll protect them.
These might not feel like particularly meaningful gestures of respect and love, but they are. It’s an honor to get them, even though we regularly overlook the significance. The same is true with so many things that our kids do. Think about how vulnerable and small they are…even as they get older. Think about how helpless they are on their own.
The way they’ll let you pick them up and throw them, the way they like to crawl into your bed, the way they call for you at night. This is an honor. The way they feel safe enough to cry around you, the way they like to put on your enormous shoes and walk around, the way they want to take your old t-shirt with them to college to sleep in. This is an honor.
It’s an incredible gesture of vulnerability and trust and love. You earned it…and yet it’s something you can never fail to keep earning. This is something you cannot let down, and cannot take for granted. They are a little fellow following you. They are looking at you with wide eyes and an open heart. Live up to it. Appreciate it. Cherish it.