“I knew you’d come! O Marmar! I did want you so! For a moment they kissed and clung to one another, quite forgetting all the world; for no matter how lost and soiled and worn-out wandering sons may be, mothers can forgive and forget every thing as they fold them in their fostering arms. Happy the son whose faith in his mother remains unchanged, and who, through all his wanderings, has kept some filial token to repay her brave and tender love.”
~ Chapter 12, Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott
In this chapter, five year old Rob gets lost in the woods with Nan during a berry picking expedition, due to Nan’s mischievous prank. At first he does panic slightly, at the realization of being lost, and as night slowly closes in on them. But he calms right down when he remembers that his mother will come looking for him, for his confidence in her is unshakable – he knows she will find him. His confidence in his mother and calm demeanor, waiting patiently for her to find them, gives hope to Nan (who was responsible for little Rob’s care) that they will indeed be found before too long.
Little Rob’s confidence in his mother is exactly the confidence every son should have in his mother. There was no question in his mind whether or not Jo would find him, but rather a question of how long it would take, considering they had strayed from the path. But even the question of time didn’t bother Rob, because he knew his mother wouldn’t rest until she had found him, until she had him in her arms. What a virtue to possess – the complete confidence of your son in your love for him.
Jo stops her search partner, young Dan, from yelling to the others once they were on Rob’s trail: “No, let me find them; I let Rob go, and I want to give him back to his father all myself.” When Jo comes upon her little son, sound asleep in the darkness, with his head in the sleeping Nan’s lap, she “softly lifted away the apron, and saw the little ruddy face below. The berry-stained lips were half-opened as the breath came and went, the yellow hair lay damp on the hot forehead, and both the chubby hands held fast the little pail still full.
The sight of the childish harvest, treasured through all the troubles of that night for her, seemed to touch Mrs. Jo to the heart, for suddenly she gathered up her boy, and began to cry over him, so tenderly, yet so heartily, that he woke up, and at first seemed bewildered. Then he remembered, and hugged her close, saying with a laugh of triumph, – I knew you’d come! O Marmar!…”