morning breaks, and i’m heavy lidded, still trying to keep watch for miracles that feel so late in coming. but my daughter pirouettes by in a corduroy skirt, and i find that even here, in my patient impatience, i reside in a life glutted with joy.
joy for just-born babies. tomatoes that burgeon and blush in spite of me. frisbee games with my oldest. (and his consoling smile and beautiful absence of gloating when he trounces me, twenty-one to eleven.)
there are the joys of honeyed cornbread, water in the tap, friends who take you along to the pool. books and hot chocolate in the post, cotton sheets scented with dew and wind. tylenol. absolution. a God who promises to father the fatherless.
in the end, He always shows up.
and in the meantime, there’s so very much to dance for.
seems every time i blink, time has stretched you yet again, from the smallish child who roared at ladybugs and happily scampered after his brother, to this lanky, self-assured boy of mine, wearing a decade of wisdom on your narrow frame.
you pin your heart to your sleeve, are quick to laugh, stride the hallways at school as if you own the place. you are clever and animated and can argue with an ardency that confirms you are my child.
studying you, it’s easy to recognize the shape of my eyes, your father’s narrow toes and unending lashes, or the grain of my hair, thick and arrow-straight. but tripping on the heels of that thought comes the realization that none of this matters. what i hope for instead is that you'll resemble Him.
i hope God’s tenderness floods your veins. i hope your words and movement are rooted in kindness, your cognition tethered with humility. i hope you joyfully give the glittering things of now to love other people, that you live for the delight of a King who frames all time.
in the quiet hum of early morning, i think of my littlest child, my almost-son living opposite days on the far curve of this earth. i ask for sleep weeded clean of nightmares, for God to whisper a lullaby into his bones.
and when the sun burns low in my sky, and dusk bleeds the day of color, i think of him rising, fresh and drowsy. i ask for someone to smile when calling his name today, for someone to kiss his fears out, for someone to expect big things for this small son of mine.
i pray for his days and nights and in-betweens, and for someone to make it a point to let Jesus show up in their skin and hold him safe, love him so close.
most summers find us camping, sometimes with friends, sometimes just our crew of six (soon to be seven! yee!). usually camping means a trusty tent and some trees and a hammock and a tricksy campfire and fifty-six spiders.
this weekend, however, we upgraded.
friends of ours have relatives with a passel of woods, in which they plunked down several cabins and picnic benches, a sandbox and swings and a fishing pond. our cabin was spacious and furnished and stocked with books, old fashioned games, and cozy stacks of blankets and quilts. what it lacked in electricity it made up for in a propane fridge and stove and lamps.
i felt like a traitor to the camping world. an enthusiastic, delighted traitor.
so we 'camped.' and we fished. and played cards and swatted buzzing things and roasted cookie s'mores. and as if all that goodness wasn't sweet enough, we got to meet up with the renowned flower patch farm girl and her CMB. we brushed shoulders in college, but became friends much later, once i read her blog and realized that this girl? knocks my stripey socks off.
[her little gal was ill, and her youngest tucked at home in bed, both in the care of grandma, but i did get to meet mr calvin, who is a fish-whisperer. he casts his line and the trout and catfish queue up to swallow his hook. it's uncanny.]
our time together was short but lovely. a microcosm of the weekend, really.
so today, i'm unwrapping the gift of simple, happy weekends, of a campfire circled by people so dear to me.
today is my mum's birthday. life has been intense for her lately, but she has been weathering heartache with grace, and she is seventeen sorts of wonderful, and so today i celebrate her.
if you were here, mom, we would bake fat shortcakes in the shape of hearts, and slice up strawberries and build towers of whipped cream. and when the strawberry part ran out, as it seems inclined to do, we'd smother on jam instead and toast each other with jam-sticky smiles and it would be every bit as good.
with windows rolled down and the radio blaring, we sing our way over thirteen miles of backroads, past feed corn and soybeans and a ramshackle shed of pungent hogs, past mcintire’s stone mill and the schoolhouse church. the wind on our faces is hot and dusty and full of summer.
we pile out at the park and drench ourselves in cold, sweet water. the july sun is a sticky thing, and time moves slowly enough to make room for lunch under a red umbrella, for mountain climbing expeditions on the triple slide, for a twirl on the merry go round and digging shells in the creek bed.
then it’s home again for naps and books and laundry. after dinner we head to the school and the kids play ball tag while i wind five miles around the track. we watch a pair of hot air balloons in the field beside us assemble and take flight, then hang suspended mid-sky with nothing but fire and hope.
after nine-o-clock showers, the kids are in bed and i can barely keep my eyelids parted. and it occurs to me that times like these are a gift, days hot and full of enjoying the happy company of these children who call me mom.