Saturday, November 21, 2015

Blessed are We

We were walking through the airport and I knew he would see the reports of Paris. I had to discuss it with him before he saw it, he is a sensitive soul. I began telling him that something terrible happened the night before and that he may see the televisions at the airport reporting on the terrible thing. I reminded him that terrible things happen, but people always rise to the occasion, they rush into the problem to solve it. "Didn't people cause the problem?" he asked. Point taken. "Yes." I say, "But people can either be the problem or the solution. It's all about choices and habits. We have to face our problems with a helper's heart."

"Yeah," he says, much later, "we do have to have a helper's heart. Or the bad stuff will crush us. If we help, the bad stuff is the loser."

He is so simple in his words and thoughts, and profound. Bad stuff, is like weeds in a garden, relentless. But good people, fruitful people, work toward an abundant harvest.


Becket is 5.5 months. He has two teeth, he is technically mobile, though that has been the case for months. Oh golly, he's such an amazing human being. He belongs in this world by virtue of the fact that he loves being here and is interested in every single thing. His dimples make me believe in God. I mean, I already believe in God, but dimples are technically a deformity, yet give such pleasure to the viewer. Like an everyday Easter making sense of the crucifixion. Perhaps I make too much of them. I don't care. Life can be terribly taxing, so I will take the joy I find and squeeze every last ounce of it. 


She is angry at the evil that exists. The undeniable evil of those who kill, and the sneaky evil of those who would take advantage of the fears of the masses. She is afraid, and angry. "Why should we turn people away? Why can't we believe they are running too? What if they come here?" I know her fear and her frustrations. The what-ifs of the parent are different of those of a child, but I am not so far from childhood that I can't understand. 

"We just love the best we can, sweetie. And we pray for our leaders and our enemies. And we keep on feeding the hungry and clothing the naked."

"Mama, it's never been easy, has it?" I turn my watery eyes away and hold her closer. 

"Easy is a trap. When you have to use your heart and your mind, you are blessing the world." I say it to myself and to her, though neither of us understands it.

She is rebellious, a sign of intelligence. Who cares? She makes me love more. She makes me question my prejudice. She expects good from others. She loves large tattooed men and heavily made-up women.  She hugs everyone even when they are uncomfortable. "HUG!" she announces. "Patpatpat!" "I'm yo fren." she states to the high school boy. He warms up and asks her name, to which she replies, "Whass yo nem?" He says he's Brody and she's very sweet. She nods and says, "Yes. Yo my fren." as she walks to the next patient. Everyone waiting for the dentist feels warm and comfortable, fillings be damned.

"What if I am not so good? What if I'm not magic?" 

Facing her very real learning problems has made her doubt herself for the very first time. She is magic, but I can't tell her that now. She is confounding and beautiful, but she feels stupid. Arg, that word! I pull her in. I will hold her to account. I will expect her to be responsible. It will be so very hard. Because she is important to this world, she will have to face herself now. But she will not do it alone. Look at all the people who love her. Look at  us. I begin to list the names, and she adds to it. Oh yes, him too. Look at that. You are not alone. Her shoulders lower. I see her. She feels seen.

She is positive she is not great. I am a fool. I am just being nice. She is not as smart as we think and she is a fraud. Effing middle school. I thank her. 47 times a day, I thank her for the most minute things. "Thank you for showing Paul his signed sheet." "Thank you for bringing Mae to the bathroom." "Thank you for making me a mom." "Thanks for saying goodnight." "Thanks for being here with us." She treats it like a nicety, but it is not. I mean it. I'm glad she's here and I'm glad she's ours. I'm glad her siblings have her and I'm glad she still needs me to apply her antibiotic. I'm glad she's free to be pouty and I'm glad she has the sense to apologize. I'm glad I remember what middle school feels like. I'm glad it won't last forever.

Everyday there is a reason to despair. I am sad for victims, I'm angry at terrorists and opportunists. Day after day there are sad stories and bullshit artists expressing an opinion on what it all means. Meanwhile we have them. Day after day we are asked if we are done having kids, or what on earth would make us want so many. Are you kidding? Look around! The world needs hope. The world needs purpose. They offer it every moment of the day. They remind me that God exists. I didn't create their beauty, it surpasses my creative ability. My need to heap love upon them would last all my life, even if they died. This is hope. A love that lasts past expiration. 

They have taught me to be grateful for my compassion and my grief. My heart is well ordered to long to fix things for them, but to give them space to fix things themselves. My heart is well ordered to cry with them and for them. My heart is well ordered to allow our family to sacrifice to clothe the naked and feed the hungry and pray for those who would see us dead. They spur me to have a well ordered heart, and thus, be more fully human. The world is a blessed place because they exist.

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