Today every little thing feels like a parable. Calling out to me what I need to learn. Precious baby boy shakes his head “No” when he means yes, he’d like a banana. Much like me when his father asks and I say, “Fine,” when I mean “Not very fine at all.” I give and he takes and he shoves in banana until he cannot breathe so I hold out my hand to receive back what can only hurt him but he looks at me, shaking his head, refusing the offer of help. He takes in too much and I take on too much till I’m almost choking with burdens I decided were mine while he patiently holds out a scarred hand to receive back what I was never meant to shoulder.
These little wooden pieces of fruit littering my floor call out to me that my heart is scattered. I left pieces of myself in places oceans away and now when I search for the missing piece of carrot I only have cucumber. She holds part of me and her black and white passport picture on my fridge reminds me that I too have pieces of her. That I left changed.
His tired whine brings me back to an almost-toddler who’s striving in a sticky green booster seat, asking only with volume that I unbuckle the safety strap so he can do it himself.
He fights the sleep I know he needs and I fight many things I know I need but I finally strap him on my chest for a walk to calm us both. As he bangs his head on my chest ending each thrust with a slobbery kiss, I know just how he feels—fighting and loving with the same breath. I begin to sing over him and he matches me, overpowers me. His little voice is not so little and he cannot hear my words over his monotonous call, so I sing a little louder the only song that brings him peace:
“Mama, mama, mama.”
I sing my name over and over to him. He notices his favorite lyric; he turns his head and rests. I feel his legs tense and his voice begin again but he lets the mumble melt away into silence. He rests his voice and his head and his eyes as I keep singing this name. This name that reminds him of who he is because it tells him who I am. This name that assures him of his belonging, of his place here, with me, with us. This name that made me labor and love and breathe over him.
At first I think I formulated the question but really, the divine invitation trembles into my mind and I hear myself gasp a little at the very thought. This moment becomes the intersection of openness and quiet and I don’t speed by and I hear: What name is God singing over you today?
Spirit of grace?
The first and the last?
If I could quiet myself and the things I let distract me, what name would I hear?