I want you to give you back to me, he yells from his crib.
The toddler is fighting an afternoon nap; I’m trying hard not to lose. I want you back, he whimpers.
In my bedroom, Bee and I listen with our ears pressed to the monitor, waiting quietly for Scout to settle so we gals can tackle our latest reads. Her: Mary Pope Osborne. Me: Wendell Berry. We’re full of hope. I have tea.
But I just want to keep you, he moans.
That’s the one, the line I can’t ignore, the phrase that chips through whatever annoyance I can muster. It rattles the very depths of me, that forgotten place Yeats calls “the rag and bone shop of the heart.”
Bee laughs loud. A stronger woman than I, she rolls over to crack open Dinosaurs Before Dark. I leave behind cold tea, creep back to a blue nursery for the small boy I, too, just want to keep.
Almost Everything by Anne Lamott
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace
The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis
The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser
This week: friends knocking at the door with taco meat in a crockpot. Foraging the fridge for peppers, an impromptu guac. Snow drifts. We perch around the counter, talk about what it means to champion your kids extravagantly both now and tomorrow. This story came to mind. This one, too.
The next morning, Bee asks if I can help french braid her doll’s hair.
It was the easiest yes.
Something to believe in:
A Buddhist monk visits New York. His Western host helps him navigate the city; tells the monk they could save ten minutes by making a complex subway transfer at Grand Central Station. When they emerge in Central Park, the monk sits down on a bench. “What are you doing?” the host asks.
The monk’s reply: “I thought we should enjoy the ten minutes we saved.”