crayon doodle

i’m reading ‘lullabies for little criminals’ while he nurses. the words blur with the slurp, slurp sound. his lashes are long on cheek, hand guiding an invisible orchestra. i touch his hair. surprised, somehow, at how soft it is. i do this every day. not believing the miracle that is baby. mum is moaning on the couch. she too is waving her hand. it’s a fuzzy day. trent’s gone and i don’t know how dad and i are going to get her off the couch. maybe by the time he gets back, she’ll be feeling better.

the slurping stops and aiden stares up at me, lips like a crayon doodle. i lay him on the change table and he flings his arms wide open as if to hug me. opens his mouth wide like he’s going to bite the air, then stretches it into a smile that looks like a laugh. then he starts to speak, trying hard to form his tongue around a word which sounds like “gurgle” and for a moment, i forget about mum, moaning on the couch, and i just stare at my son. “hi,” i say, smiling like a giddy school girl and he giggles. then i scoop him up into my neck and hold him like that for a long time.

(thank you, Prairie Chick, for the humbling award…)

why haiti?

babies hold no secrets.

when Aiden’s happy, his smile seems to swallow his head…

and when he’s sad, his face folds like an accordion, in seconds flat.

God, too, must grin like this.

and God, too, must cry… for we are made in Heaven’s image.

my baby reflects the holy…

and so, i worship a God who has red-rimmed eyes.

a God who weeps, when things like Haiti happen.

a God who falls against the side of Heaven and yells, Why? into swirling-nothing: Why did they have to get hurt? Why sin? Why evil? Why?

i see His radiance shatter across that graveyard-island: gentle hands, lifting children from beneath buildings, stroking cheeks of mourning mothers, resting on the heads of broken fathers… and I see Him

humbled

by the mass horror

angered

by the sheer loss

and … wearied. wanting to bring us all home.

dancing with the angels

i was told, recently, about a special-needs child who lives in Alberta and claims to see angels. this boy is not prone to the fanciful. he is alert, rational, and serious. but he sees angels. one day, he turned on the music in the living room and began to twirl. his mother called to him, ‘what are you doing, sweetie?’ to which he replied, ‘i’m dancing with the angels.’

this morning, i played guitar at church. after one set of worship songs, the congregation sat down. my mum kept standing. her eyes were shut, and she was smiling… swaying, back and forth… her face, radiant.

i have no doubt that Mum too, was dancing with the angels.

today, let’s close our eyes so we can see them. the godly beings, amongst us. and then, let’s dance.

soul fatigue

some days i don’t see it coming.

aiden is talking, laughing in little boy gurgles, gasping, swinging his legs

then…

heavy lids. protruding bottom lip. and if i don’t catch it in time… a squished up face, and sobs…

fatigue descends, a shooting star.

i pick him up, rock him back and forth… my own lids getting heavy with the movement…

then place him gently down in the bassinette.

walk away.

i hear him fussing, lifting his head, somehow shocked at being in this place so familiar… he grunts, squirms, then, begins to cry…

i place my hand on his bum, pat pat… and all is quiet. head drops. lids shut. and he is asleep.

some days, i feel this:

utter soul-fatigue, such that i’m wound up tight… i bow down to pray, but all i can feel is angst… the dishes need doing, the laundry sits in smug piles, and assignments await… then, i catch sight of the icicles, shining in the sunlight; hanging holy, sharp sheen… jagged, cold, breathtaking. and it does–it grabs my breath, takes it hostage, and all i can do is… rest. in this moment of pure beauty.

pat, pat. God places his hand on me, reassuring me: he, creator of icicles–here today, gone tomorrow–will care for me. will make beauty shine through me.

the land of baby dreams

where do you go, child of mine, when you sleep?

your small chest rises and falls… sweet milk breaths fill the room, and i watch you slip away from me into a forgotten place: the land of baby dreams.

how do you dream, without words? do you dream in pictures? in shapes? in sounds?

or perhaps, in the Land of Nod, you are fluent, and grown-ups are the ones who’ve forgotten how to talk…

sometimes you tense up, make tiny squeals or grunts, and your legs kick. it reminds me of a puppy, chasing the proverbial rabbit… are you, too, chasing? perhaps, in this sleepy land, you can run, jump and dance… perhaps you’re playing with your unborn sibling, who passed over into the dream world last year.

i imagine an island where babies converse and crawl, walk and laugh, a land of milk and clouds and sunshine, where adults are not allowed to go… a place much like Dr. Suess describes in his books–a wacky world of this, that and the other… a place where children can be children.

but then, some nights, i think you visit God… i picture you sliding from earth into heaven, where he picks you up; reminds you to be patient as we learn to care for you… you beg him to return to paradise, but he just smiles and says, ‘they need you. your parents need you. i promise, earth will get easier.’

i think this, because sometimes you wake with a glow… and you smile at me, loving me more than any words ever will.

letting my baby go

this christmas, my well-meaning two-year-old nephew who adores “baby aiden” fell flat on top of him.

it was an accidental fall. he’d been wiggling on a seat.

i’d been changing aiden on the floor. turned away briefly, rooting for diaper cream. it was then that it happened. for a second, aiden didn’t even scream. my nephew’s small body was splayed flat. no more baby. then, i heard it–a desperate, ripping cry begging for seven-weeks of life… and all i knew was, i needed to save my little boy.

i didn’t even see my nephew anymore, just the place where aiden should have been. i pushed my nephew off, grabbed my purple-faced boy close, wishing somehow i could tuck him inside my heart for safe-keeping… aiden was rigid with terror: shocked, from 26 pounds of life squashing him. even as i tried to nurse him, to feed warmth back inside him, it took minutes for him to stop crying, to crumple against me.

(yet, would i crumple that fast? so quick to trust again… to receive comfort) it was then that i wept. my own desperate tears, wanting to save him from all of the falls, all of the hurts, all of the potential deaths this world poses…

but i cannot. and for this, i weep. i have never loved so intimately, so wholly… i have never before felt this extension of self. this need to shove aside all possible hurts in order to save. i would die for my son, i know that. no question. but to offer him to the world, as a sacrifice? i don’t know if i can do that.

but this is what the heavens ask: to love my child, all that i can, and trust God with the rest. to say ‘no’ to me and ‘yes’ to whatever might be.

my mission each day: to offer back the child who gazes, adoring, at me. to let him crawl away into the arms of a heavenly father who knows all… and has the power to save.

move over, mona lisa

wee morn treads tired footprints across my forehead, and i yawn… stare down at young son on dressing table, my fingers fumbling with cloth diaper velcro… he’s stretching: one arm, and then the other, and his breath is coming in excited yelps… suddenly his legs spring out, then up, and his mouth spreads into a yawn so big i fear it will swallow him.

then, his eyes find mine… wise eyes, fresh from heaven’s bosom, and…

he smiles.

it’s a slow process, lifting one cheek, then the other, splitting wide small face until his chin quivers and his eyes dance. this is no passing gas… (which spreads thinly, creepily)… no, this is a huge, glorious grin that leaps up and kisses my face until the joy makes my heart hurt. and i cry.

move over, mona lisa… for there’s nothing more beautiful than a smiling babe.

his smile confirms that yes, i am doing something right… yes, my boy loves me. knows me. and wants to know me more.

oh, the affirmation. of being adored by someone so new, so honest. it makes one want to continue…