There are times when we aren’t the best of friends, my youngest and I. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, being a mom and all, but once in a while he tries my patience and that’s just the honest truth. I probably try his, too.

Lately, it’s been like this. He says something to me, asks a question or whatever, and if I don’t immediately answer him, he makes some kind of comment about how I love another son (who I always answer immediately, of course) more than I love him. Ya.

You know how it is. Everyone in the whole wide world is treated better than he, and I like them all better than I like him, and I want them all to be happy but I couldn’t care less about, you know, him. And I’m always getting after him but I let everyone else get away with murder.

He’s my drama queen. I mean king.

This morning, while I was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee after a long night of goat baby births, he came over and gave me a hug. And I didn’t hug him back right away, I guess, because he was all you-don’t-like-my-hugs-any-more-but-you-like-so-and-so’s-hugs and I have to say it was the last straw for my aching camel’s back.

I think it was the Holy Spirit that stirred me. Maybe, or maybe I’m just smarter than I think I am sometimes, but I stopped him right there, right in the middle of his poor-little-me speech.

Son, I said. You need to stop this. If you want to give me a hug, then give me a hug. Giving a hug is a gift, and you are turning it into a test. I don’t want I’m-testing-you-to-see-if-you-love-me hugs. I want I’m-giving-you-the-gift-of-my-love hugs. Please don’t test my love for you anymore.

A gift, whether it’s a hug or my time or the meal I make, is a love thing. It’s not a test thing.

I need to remember that, too.