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  • Becky Adams

That Chicken Fried Song

Country music ain't for me, but that song strikes a chord.

Strikes a chord. Ha! No pun intended. My husband claims that I like country music, but he's wrong. Just because I know all the words to a dozen songs from the genre, don't generalize, ok??


Anyway, there is a phrase from that song that I like: "feel the touch of a precious child, know a mother's love." These are some of the things in life that the Zac Brown Band finds precious. They are so right.


In this picture you see two kids jammed together on the couch. Look at how the boy's bony elbow is probably digging into his sister's thigh--but she doesn't seem to notice. Her arm is resting on top of his arm; it's probably heavy and he's probably a little squished--but that's ok. She can smell his hair because his head is pushed against her chin. His whole body weight is against her chest, isn't that constricting her lungs? Doesn't matter. It might be tough for him to breathe well too, since he's all curled up in order to fit onto the couch next to her with his little toy laptop. That's just fine.


It's comfortable proximity. It's the touch of a precious child. A child just leans against you, holds your hand, wraps their arm around your leg, assumes that it's ok to tuck their head right under your chin. The touch of a precious child isn't necessarily their hand; children touch you with their whole bodies. They use their knees and feet to climb you; they are happy to press their stomach into your chest for a hug. Proximity means love and trust. It's purity.


This is one of the biggest things I miss. Knowing every square inch of your child: knowing what their hair smells like, knowing the exact length of their fingers and toes, feeling something sharp in your gut in the middle of the night and knowing instantly whose elbow or knee it is. Nobody on earth is as giving with this particular sense; nobody else is as pure.


That band sings about a mother's love. I feel a mother's love when I look at that picture. I can feel that little girl's fingers typing away on that laptop, I can smell that boy's head, I know what both sets of toes look like under those socks. (They are among the cutest of toes, I assure you.) A mother's love is about that proximity. A mother's love transcends all the other senses; you know what your kid looks like, sounds like, smells like--and taste is so closely linked to smell, that unfortunately you might have an idea of what they taste like.


But that touch--the heavy warmth of an infant on your shoulder, the wiry cling of a toddler, the casual sling of a school-age child's arm around your waist, the joking squeeze of a teen showing off muscles by picking you up. Those feelings are also unique to your child. If you close your eyes, you can feel it. And the hardest thing in the world is knowing that the only way you will ever feel it is if you close your eyes and imagine it.


I think that it's probably just as difficult for siblings to lose that proximity. I know that my daughter misses having her brother around to pinch or play-punch during a boring family gathering. I know she misses the casual hug hello or goodbye.


Every time I see my own sisters or my daughter, I hug them fiercely; it's that proximity that keeps me going.


The touch of a precious child. You really get me, Zac Brown Band.


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