Monday, March 17, 2014


"Jasper, look at me. I'm going to count to five…"

There have been many warnings in the last weeks. It's hard to be three and suddenly infiltrated by two needy human beings who always seem to be in the arms of your parents, always gloating with their cries and coos.

"But I want to whine…because I don't want to do that..."

Ugh. In many moments, we are a house filled with people who are not doing what they want to be doing. We are five overtired whiners who need naps and hugs.

Jasper's ashes still adorned his forehead on Thursday, even after the wet washcloth made a pass and he slept with his face smashed into the Goldy Pillow Pet in his bed. I could still make out the smudge through his late afternoon meltdown, the time out, and the tender moment where he finally lets me wipe his tears with my sleeve.

I crawled into bed with him and we snuggled under a pile of books. My body ached against the wall and my breasts ached for all three of my children. It was not time for the girls to eat yet, but his cries tricked my body into thinking milk would help.

"I don't like time outs. Waiting is hard."

Amen, Brother. Waiting is really hard. Getting the loud stuff out and then calming down is hard, too.

But then, in the calm
and the wiping of the tears
and the physicality of love embodied

we come together and there are finally words.

Words about our feelings and words in the books that will guide us back to rituals and laughter and peace with each other.

"Mommy when you're frustrated because I'm whining your eyes get really big like this."

His eyes bugged open, wider than ever.

And then we burst into giggles.

"They do! That's because I need big eyes to see all the big things you're feeling. And I open them wide so you can see my eyes while I'm telling you what you need to do and how much I love you."

I prefer these words to the number five, but getting to these sweet and thoughtful places usually begins by counting to five in the midst of all kinds of feelings and rebellion and abandon. Oh well. It is in this loud and physical bantering we each begin to sense the wideness of this love, the exhaustive power of this love, and merciful healing of this love.

He falls asleep in my arms like he did when he was little. I watch his eyelashes for awhile and then sneak out of his little bed to feed his sisters. Someday I will share words and numbers with the girls, too, but for now it is just Jasper learning these things together with me. It's just Jasper meeting me in the heat of five and feeling every ache with me.