My little son

John Henry says the sweetest little “uh-huh” to assent.

Tonight, we are getting ready for his bedtime.

“Do you want to read a book, Bubs?”

“Uh-huh.”

We read the book, and he points out the “affe” (giraffe) and then leans into my arms for the wiggle that comes with the worm. After looking at the “shish” (fish) a few more times, we finish.

“Are you ready to go night night?”

“Uh-huh.” And he reaches to put the book onto the dresser.

He snuggles into my shoulder, my neck, one hand clutching his beloved owl, the other with his thumb all the way in his mouth.

I am struck by this moment tonight, and every night. My boy, my son, little enough to still suck on his thumb, who needs a little stuffed owl for bedtime, who wants to lay his head on his mom’s shoulder before I tuck him in.

He is so tender.

Last Christmas, he was still new. Having a little baby by the tree is magical. I thought of Jesus as a small little person, like he was.

But this year, I remember how Jesus was a son. I think of Mary with her little son and the Christmases after as she saw Christ’s own tenderness. One day, he would overcome the temptations of the devil and survive on nothing for 40 days. One day, he would enter Jerusalem as a celebrated hero and one day he would conquer death forever.

But first, he was just a small little boy.

What a privilege it is to be a mother, and to get to know a boy who will one day be a man. I get to see him at his smallest, his most vulnerable. I get to see him hugging stuffed animals and crying over a hard bump on the head. No one else will know him as I do.

Even as he grows up and outgrows me—the goal and sorrow, the joy and hope of every parent—I pray many things for him.

I pray he would be brave as Our Lord who carried his own instrument of torture through the city streets.

That he would love justice like Our Lord who turned over the tables of the money changers.

That he would be self-sacrificing as Our Lord who gave his body to be broken for His children.

That he would be humble as Our Lord who came to earth as a little boy, just as he is.

But most of all, I pray that he would be tender as Our Lord, the Lord who wept at the tomb of Lazarus and welcomed the little children into His presence.

The first snowstorm of the season

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetSnow came this weekend and there is something so perfect about soft, white, heavy snowfall with the Christmas tree lit up in the living room and fresh coffee in the pot. We made a brief excursion into the wonderland. It was precluded by about twenty minutes of struggling with gloves and boots and hats. In preparation for the storm, I stopped by the consignment shop yesterday for some gear. The only boots I found for JH are the ugliest Spiderman boots that light up when you walk—perhaps the highlight of the morning. My only complaint about snow before the semester ends? The shoveling falls to me.Processed with VSCO with f3 preset

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Edith is the happiest little snow bunny and could stay out for hours.

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In contrast, JH whined most of the time and I think especially hated not being able to move. Even more reason to walk, little boy.
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Personality differences.

Just doing Nothing

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“I like that too,” said Christopher Robin, “but what I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing?” asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it.”

“Oh, I see,” said Pooh.

~

Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out “Pooh!”

“Yes?” said Pooh.

“When I’m—when—Pooh!”

“Yes, Christopher Robin?”

“I’m not going to do Nothing any more.”

“Never again?”

“Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”

(A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Pooh)

This ending to Winnie the Pooh tugs at my heart every time I think about it and hear it on the 45-minute adaptation on Spotify that Edith listens to every day.

I think about how beautiful it is, that my children can do nothing with their days and nothing with their time, and that this nothing is a good and right and beautiful thing for them to do. I think about how never again in their lives will they be encouraged to do nothing, never again will it be a positive thing.

Most days, I feel like I did “nothing,” but I am learning that it is actually a good thing. I am guarding their ability to do nothing. I am protecting their days of playing and reading and exploring, for truly they will be gone, as one day they must be.

One day they will have classes and worksheets and assignments and schedules and logs and calendars and everything else. But not now.

For now, their nothing is everything.

Vignettes

DSC_0007Me: “I have to get up to shower tomorrow.”
Travis: “No you don’t. You’re not going anywhere.”
Me: “Yes, I do. There are ladies coming over.”
Travis: “Are they ladies who shower?”

(Thanks to my husband for always being supportive of my less-than eagerness to wash my hair most days.)

~

The other morning, while Edith was playing outside with some other children, a loud airplane flew low over the backyard. Edith’s little head popped up and she watched the whole time it was in her line of sight until it disappeared—her eyes wide, a big grin on her face, saying something to herself that I couldn’t hear from inside the house. Probably “Airplane! Whoosh!” over and over and over again. I love to see her noticing things—her eyes bright, and her face turned with complete attention. I love it. I want to foster that in her, to teach her to see things and notice things and giver her full attention to them. It is good for me to remember that she will best learn this act of noticing from me. It is a weighty thing, this job I have of being a model for another person to imitate.

~

Processed with VSCO with c2 presetOn Sunday, during communion, when Edith usually says (very loudly): “Jesus here!”, this week, she said: “Jesus read Frog and Toad?”

~

I am glad that whoever planned my house thought of the sunshine. It comes in the large, back doors, first thing in the morning, as we are still working on waking up. Then it moves a bit and spills through the big window on the other side of the dining room, warming our breakfast and getting in John Henry’s eyes as he bounces in the kitchen doorway. Then it warms up the whole house, all afternoon, through the huge front window. I live for light, and this home has given me so much. It is making up for my first three years of lightless apartment living.

~

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As I tried to communicate to Edith the dangers of running into the road, I told her one time that the cars would “get her.” Ever since, she would say “cars get you street.” “Trucks get you street.”

“That’s right, Edith,” I would say. “The cars will get you so we stay in the yard.”

The trouble is, she has taken this very much to heart and every time we are in the front yard and she hears a car coming down the road, she crouches in the grass and looks around like she is expecting it to jump off the road and tackle her to the ground. Now she won’t even walk in a parking lot with me, holding my hand. “Cars get you,” she says in tears, again and again, until I hold her.

Mom fail or mom success? I haven’t decided.

Catching up: photos

Since I recently deactivated my facebook, another goal for this blog is to post photos once a week especially for family members.

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This boy has been growing so quickly and I have recently been remembering just how much I love the 4 month age. He is so sweet and has recently gotten into hanging out on his belly so that the second you put him down on his back, whether to change a diaper or just to play, he immediately tries to roll.
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Just trying to keep it together until dinner.
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Post-nap oranges with Pooh Bear.
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We have had sickness in the house for the last two weeks now and I am so ready for it to just go away.
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Edith’s recent favorite perch. I love watching her carry her rocking chair over to the closet and then set it up in just the right spot so that she can see the mirror.