Thursday, July 23, 2009


All I said to Greg was "Who died?" As in, conversationally. As in, our good friends were called away to a funeral and I want to know how somber I should feel. Not as in, let's unravel the very long rope of mortality and pluck at each mysterious strand, right here at this very moment, when mommy's afternoon coffee has worn off and the taco soup is scorching on the stove.

But that is precisely what happened. I said, "Who died?" and Toby burst into tears, spraying us with worms from the can I'd opened.

"Did somebody die?" and "Am I going to die?" and "When am I going to die?"

Greg and I were completely unprepared. He was crying so violently, so out of nowhere. Greg scooped him into his lap to calm him down. I sat beside them both stroking Toby's arm, searching for a possible trajectory. How could he even know what "died" meant?!

"Am I going to die?" he said again.

Greg and I looked Toby straight in the eye and answered confidently "No!" [Greg] and "Someday..." [me]. What?! I shot Greg my subliminal indignation. Liar liar pants on fire.

Heartless messenger of evil, Greg shot back.

Clearly we had no plan. We sat for a moment, dumbfounded, watching Toby sob. Neither of us had a clue where to start, so we opted to board the Joy Bus through the valley of death like good Christian parents. "Let's focus on Heaven! and Living Forever With God!"

"Will it hurt when I die? Is Charlie going to die? How long will I be dead?"

"Heaven is super-fun! God is awesome to be with!"

He cried so hard that the hangy thing in the back of his throat wiggled with every wail. "How am I going to die? I don't want to die..."

It was more gut-wrenching than Beaches and Bridge to Terabithia together. How could we explain death and eternity to a four-year-old? Ten minutes before he was yelling "Come wipe me!" and now he was Socratically dissecting his own fate.

We whizzed through all the death scriptures we knew. "...conform to His death...?" "The wages of sin is death...?" Then we remembered this: "...Jesus, who has destroyed death..." That phrase became the pot in which we planted our integrity. We could look him in the eye and say "Dying is really scary, but don't worry little man, Jesus wins."

Then we all went to Sonic for a cherry limeade.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Satisfaction, Like It or Not

I wore the boys out Saturday. Wore them out. It was one of those afternoons that scrapbooks itself involuntarily: the rosy-cheeked children splashing and giggling in sepialike snapshots. I bought them another baby pool, and I kid you not, I have never been so happy with a six dollar sale item. I sat in my lawn chair reading, reading! while they bounced around safely in two feet of water. Greg grilled burgers and hot dogs and we put his Sigma Chi mugs in the freezer for frosty root beers.

When it got too hot I actually crawled in the pool myself. It was really grassy, you know, after Toby and Charlie had climbed in and out all afternoon. I grabbed the strainer from the sandbox and lazily skimmed the water. It felt good to cool off, but also kind of lame sitting there in an inflatable pool spooning out debris.

“What are you doing?” Toby said.

“I’m just cleaning off the yucky grass.”

“Why is the grass yucky? It isn’t yucky on the ground.”

He didn’t have to be so rational about it. I don’t know why it’s so yucky. It’s so yucky because I would rather be floating on a raft in a big people pool with a nice vacuum thingy cleaning it for me.

I like to think I’m above the discontent raging through America like typhoid, but I’m not. I peer out of Eden, looking for that one thing that isn’t mine, completely missing the giant mountain of wonderful I’m already standing on.

My two little boys are fresh and sweaty with life, laughing wildly under the bright blue skies of summer. How on earth could this be any better?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer Blessings

I know I haven’t written on my blog since, oh I don’t know, the Bush years, but believe me, I’m just saving my Shalom here. Nothing makes mommy grouchier than interrupted concentration. Like the “preschool is out and we can now leech every last drop of your humanity all day” variety. It is really much easier to abandon any personal accomplishment and surrender myself to the cause.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this post. Well, first it’s my birthday and the hubs mercifully gave me my laptop and car keys in trade for the children (I love that man). Time to myself is just logistics, however, because I have a deeper motive. My “cause,” my inspiration, my muses, are blooming like fresh summer roses and I don’t want to forget a single moment.

See, I’m crying here. Even through these days of interminable sameness, there is a violent need to hold on. First, is the growing. Growing documented daily by Toby in astonished hand-to-forehead comparisons. “Everyone!” he shouted this morning outside The Snooty Pig. “I am taller than this bench!”

“You are!” I said tearfully, plopping equal parts joy and grief in my motherhood repository. The doorknob! The fire hydrant! Mommy’s bed! He checks them off like a to-do list of vertical ascent.

Charlie too is sprouting with rosy-cheeked zeal. Every day he compiles a new stream of babble into an articulate sentence. A sentence! Sometimes my expectations are so behind I almost miss it. His sparkling brown eyes flicker intensely as he repeats “Wha Poby Dooeen?” in a consecutive stream until I smack my hand to my temple and get it.

“What is Toby doing? Of course! Let’s go find out!” I take his dimpled little hand into mine and we yell “Poby! Poby, where are you?” until we hear Toby laughing behind the curtains.

Some afternoons I sit down during their rest with my good intentions, ready to clink out another piece of my cyber memoir. Charlie opens his door and hollers “hello?” down the hall infinity times. Toby bursts from his room for a mid-nap poop. I just shrug my shoulders and sigh. There is nothing lost in a house full of life, this house, with two warm babies tucked under my arms, leaning on my chest as I stroke their beautiful heads.

God is so good to me.