When Jason, whom we later adopted, was five, and a foster child next door, he had learned he would be moved. (You can read the history of our relationship with Jason here.) As the neighborhood children often gathered under our tree in the early summer evenings after dinner, Jason and his foster siblings gathered there that evening to tell us the news and discuss where he might be moved . I had to pretend I didn’t know he was coming to us, since the social worker said not to tell him. So I let the children discuss the issue themselves while I listened.
Jason had been coming to visit us almost every day since we met in the front yard one day, and I had grown to love him. It would have hurt a lot had my contact with him be cut off, which was why we were trying to adopt him. But it was obvious Jason knew how much we cared. He might not have known the name for love, but this is what he told me that evening: When I leave, you are going to cry.”
Separation from someone you love hurts. Jason had recognized love when he saw it. He knew his leaving would hurt, and I’d cry. He was right. Fortunately, he lived with us for a wonderful nine years before a jet ski accident separated us forever on this earth. And I cried.
So how do you know if someone loves you? Words? Gifts? Promises? I think Jason had it right. Would that person cry if you were to leave forever? Would that person continue to carry your footprints in his or her heart for life?