Hawthorne wrote that every striking incident has its moral. One recent Sunday evening, I was walking down the back Church School Building stairs, and, approaching the 2nd floor, noticed a youth and his mother walking toward the choir room and realized it was time for one of Wes’s choirs to begin. I smiled at the thought of Wes raising our youth into God’s songs. The youth was walking hurriedly as his mother followed closely. He was turning the corner toward the choir room when she reached ahead, pulled him back, and kissed him on the cheek. He offered no resistance and, receiving her kiss philosophically, went on to choir. The mother turned back and walked toward the door. I, just reaching the floor, was two steps behind her. I said, “A boy needs a kiss from his mother before going into choir, or before anything else he does.” She replied, smiling, “Yes, he does.”
Memory is often a blessed gift. This lovely incident revived one from my boyhood—when I was in sixth grade, now that I think of it—about the age of our angel-kissed youth. I was leaving our house for school one morning—the school was nearby, so I walked—when I realized that my mother was not home. She worked, but was always there when my brothers, sister and I left for school. This morning, I was alone. Where my siblings were is lost to my memory, perhaps they had walked on ahead. I must have realized that she had driven off for an errand, for I paced back and forth in the carport, waiting for her return. Fearing I would be late for school, I left a time or two, walking a few yards away, but, each time, returning, refusing to submit to circumstance, for, you see, I had not kissed my mother goodbye.
Though not occurring to me before, it suddenly dawned on me that this would be the first time I had left without having done so. Amid my consternation in this drama, I recognized that going late to school in order to kiss one’s mother would not be considered a manly act, and I was embarrassed at the thought of having to explain myself. Thankfully, she finally pulled into the carport and I ran up and kissed her. Then she committed a cardinal parental offense: “why are you still here”?….and then, realizing why, joyfully exclaimed, “You waited to kiss me goodbye!” And my filial offense, “No, I didn’t!” and I ran off to school. A boy needs his mother’s kiss.
I am grateful for the touching scene I observed outside Wes’s choir room, for it resurrected these memories of affection and innocence. Perhaps it’s a small window into the profound love among mother and child, and a foretaste of the child’s journey alone into the vast of God.