The Fatherhood Chronicles C

Kiss Kiss, Delaina?

In the time with Anna’s family in Oklahoma, Delaina learned to making kissing noises. And they are not just approximations. They’re the real thing. Noticeable during most any part of the Divine Liturgy recent experience has taught. Sofie did a similar thing, but Delaina seems to be taking it to a different level.

With Sofie it took a little time for her to get the idea of venerating the icons or the cross. But once she did, it became a very natural thing for her. And this Sunday, her first visit back to the Divine Liturgy in a couple of months, she fell right back into it.

Delaina, however, seems to have taken to venerating icons wholly on her own. I know how weird that sounds, but I don’t quite have another way to say it. For I know that Anna did not take any icons with her, and so Delaina would not have had occasion to venerate any icons. Nor is this something that is habitual with Anna, though she has encouraged Sofie to venerate the icons.

With that in mind, I was taken aback by Delaina’s actions this past Saturday. On one wall in our large room, on a nail that was left by the previous tenants, I have hung a mid-sized icon of our family patron, St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco and Shanghai. Delaina caught sight of the icon when I was holding her (and thus of a height to notice the icon), and when she saw it she made kissing sounds and reached out for it. Well, as any good dad would have done, I took the icon down to allow her to kiss it.

She had never, to my knowledge, done this before. Nor had she done this to any other icon before, and we have two other large ones hanging in temporary spots in the apartment.

But wait there’s more.

When we got to services on Sunday, given that it was clear she could and would kiss icons, I held her above the icons of the Mother of God and of Christ that we venerate on entering the Church. She didn’t want to kiss them. But when I went to stand in our usual spot in the back of the nave, she noticed the icon of St. John that hangs there–and happens to be the same as the one we have at home. As you can guess, she made kissing noises and reached out for the icon. So I helped her venerate our family’s patron’s icon.

And after that, she seemed to get what the other icons were and allowed me to hold her so she could kiss them.

I just find it remarkable that, so far as I can tell, Delaina began kissing icons by noticing and reaching out to St. John’s icon, both at home and at Church. And that St. John happens to be our family’s patron only adds to the remarkable relationship of events.

I am not at all attempting to suggest any sort of explanation for why Delaina did what she did with regard to kissing icons, starting with St. John. But I find it singularly remarkable, for an almost one-year-old girl to do.

And it adds one more thing for which to thank God for his grace at work in St. John.

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