In which I wonder if I am raising responsible adults and who determines that anyway?

A knock breaks the silence of the room in the basement, where I might have chosen to be for its potential to hide me for 30 minutes.

“Yes?” I muffled, refusing to change position, my forehead pressed into the rug.

The 19-year-old walks in.  “Just an update to let you know what’s going on in your house,” Sidney says.  I concentrate on keeping my shoulders relaxed in child’s pose and breathing deeply.   Stay in the yoga flow, peace, mindfulness of the breath.  Though I can’t resist a mental eyeroll, a tiny ripple in my river of peace.

“I just electrocuted myself in the mouth a little bit and your phones don’t work, but I’m working on fixing that.”

“How is your mouth feeling?” I dutifully ask.

“It’s alright.  It was only about 48 volts.”

I’m glad that I did not lift my head for this.

 

* * *

 

Later, I overhear Sidney and Lincoln talking . . .

“You electrocuted yourself?” Lincoln asked.

“Well, it was only 48 volts,” Sidney replied.  “You don’t feel that in your fingers, but you really feel it on your tongue.”

Confused, I trip into the conversation, “Wait.  How do you happen to feel it on your tongue?”

Sidney grins, “Because I licked it.”

 

My whole purpose

In a conversation with my 19 year old son today, he told me, “You inspired me . . . ”

And

I did not hear the words that came after

because my brain latched onto those 3 words

I looked at his sisters and brother,

“Will y’all carve that into my gravestone?” I asked

She once inspired her son.

Feeling vaguely pleased with myself

until I realized that I had rudely stopped

hearing my son, interrupted him even.

Chagrinned, “I’m sorry, you were still talking but I was not listening. ”

He said, “I said that you inspired me to get back to work on building that table for my elements collection.”

She once inspired her son to build something.

I just want to lay in this small puddle of contentment,

happy that in this one breath,

I inspired my child to create,

rather than to fracture or tear down.

 

My kiddoes reveal their high drama gene

They totally inherited this from their Daddy.

Rachel and Prairie don’t come into until around the 1 minute mark.  They are on the far right, Prairie in a skirt and hair is braided.  Rachel takes a few seconds longer to come out from behind curtain. She is wearing pants and her red hair is bouncing everywhere.  Lincoln runs out on stage with the guitar near the very end.

St. Jude checks 3 of my 4 kids

Three-fourths of my children posing long and skinny outside St. Jude Hospital.  Their scans looked good.

We are so thankful for the people actively doing the work to cure childhood cancer, from the hospital employees to volunteers to strangers to family and friends who donate to the cause.  Y’all are the embodiment of our hope, the hands that carry us and other St. Jude families.

dna model

Infinite Christmas

Relaxed around the Christmas table, warm, replete,

all the time in the world to think of bigger things,

we are the privileged ones.

“There are different kinds of Infinity,” my son said.

His brother’s face reflects my own disbelief.

But isn’t Infinity infinity?

Eager, my son jumped up and drew a number line on the dining room chalkboard.

“The Infinite set of all numbers between zero and one

is larger than the Infinite set of all whole numbers,” he insisted.

How can this be?

Surely it is impossible,

a definite boundary,

the boundary beginning with zero and ending in one,

is no boundary at all.

It is both and.

.

.

I like to think that Love is Infinite.

At least some Love is, the cynical part of me whispers, but

Other people hoard something they call Love, yet . . .

Are there different kinds of Love?

That boundary I find impossible to scale,

that wall I build between me and the other,

can Love expand, fill it up and move beyond,

a limitlessness existing within imposed limits?

Easier to understand what is finite, within lines, boxed, defined.

We are primed to expect scarcity —

The beginning and ending of a life,

the last brownie in the pan,

a few dollars in the bank account,

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches in a terrarium,

laughing together as we pull mystery gifts from stockings,

this is what we know.

 

We speak of Infinity and Love

as if they can be defined and explained.

We do the same with Truth

and Paradox.

My tongue cannot speak of these things,

my lips unable to form their shape,

They are beyond the veil

but I divine their presence,

an umbilical cord connecting me to

Whom I came from,

 

who confined Himself to flesh and blood,

to the margins of zero and one,

yet human life could not restrain

Her

He showed Herself to be

Infinity, Love, Truth, Paradox

with a beating heart, dusty feet, gentle hands,

a tired sigh,

so ordinary to the naked eye

with the vibrations of extraordinary

for the attuned ear.

 

This is also what I know —

If my Love feels small and limited,

let’s say that on a scale of 0 to 10,

I feel caught between zero and one.

And yet,

perhaps,

maybe

my stingy, narrow Love

is also boundless and all-encompassing,

as beyond comprehension

as Infinity between zero and one.

 

There is a luxury

in never getting angry, never showing emotion

a privilege of the powerful one,

the one who treads upon,

who has never been underfoot

 

But the one with the foot on her throat

must get angry to fight

or slowly suffocate,

fight to be heard while

the devout one cuts off her oxygen,

lungs straining to supply logic and words

to her brain

 

Her anger, indignation, sorrow

is judged emotional,

drama,

a lack of control

her own damn fault

for not being content

to find a comfortable spot under the shoe

 

She is shamed for not appreciating

the kindly smile and loving way he

corrects her,

for making him feel uncomfortable

with her struggle to breathe.

 

It is exhausting

this struggle to simply be,

this hope of living in love

when there are so many eager feet,

so many vulnerable necks

 

So much security cultivated by controlling another person’s inhale and exhale.