On Fridays, I join in with the community of those writing at Lisa-Jo’s. We take five minutes and write without editing or over-thinking or needing it to be perfect. We just write because it’s what’s in us to do. And if the timer rings, I stop and if the speakers are on mute, I keep going! The rules are here if you’d like to join in the fun.
His eyes well up with tears as he sits on my lap, holding tightly to my upper arms as he has since he first came into the world, five years and one day ago. He kneaded these same arms while he nursed, later while he slept beside me, later still while he cuddled and “nuggled.” They are home to him. So while he is going to his Mema’s house with the pool and the cousins and the birthday cupcakes and his papa and his precious baby brother, these arms that hold him and convince him he’s home are staying put. This long-awaited weekend, my husband’s gentle gift to an introverted wife for making it through another semester of his graduate school, has me brimming with joy while my boy brims with sadness.
The neighbor’s dog died two days ago. I found him in tears, wondering what it would be like if his brother died. It isn’t the first time. We don’t lie to him and we’ve had friends bury children, so he knows. He knows that there are no guarantees. We don’t dwell on it or manipulate him with fear but he knows that a neighbor boy said goodbye to his mother a few Thursdays ago and she never came back.
And I can see that fear that courses through the generations run swift through him. So he nuggles and kneads and I hold and remind him. “Where will we meet?” We’ve practiced this a million times. If the fire alarm goes off or I lose him at Kroger, he may not know where to go because I fail to be practical at times. But this meeting place, I need him to know. I need this as much as he does. I start at the beginning.
“You will see Jesus and he will throw his arms around you and hug you and welcome you to our new world. And when the time is right—and you will just know when the time is right—you can ask him to bring you to us. He’ll know where we are. He will walk you through a city that will take your breath away with her beauty and over the horizon you will see the tree. She will leap up to the sky with joy, stretching over the river, large enough to grow on both sides of the waters of God. And we will be there, son, waiting for you. Under the tree with the leaves that will heal the nations, that’s where the Peterson’s will meet.”