It’s Friday! The day of flash-mob-writing group over here. As Lisa-Jo says, “…on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them.”
He stretches all 32 pounds of himself out on my chest, his long legs nearing my knees these days and I can’t help but remember the day that they laid him on my chest for the very first time, slippery and (dare I say it?) slimy and squirming. The hormones were coursing through me and my arms were shaking and my voice was pleading for someone else to hold him, I was certain he was going to slip right off onto the unforgiving hospital floor.
There was the day he did slip off the bed and we thought all was well until we knew it wasn’t; his head didn’t have an egg but a grapefruit. And there is that moment when the X-ray technician tells you that you can’t leave the hospital and your stomach drops and you realize that in your rush, you never even put shoes on your older son. You don’t know anything but you know it’s bad.
Tonight he unfurls all 99th percentile of height and weight on my chest and I wonder what stories we will tell him. How those stories will shape him. What stories he will tell us in turn, after he’s old enough to know that there will be no consequences.
How we picked his name that means “happy.” Feeling the joy of knowing our family would grow. And his middle name: Emmanuel. Common-enough in East Africa where he was conceived, and we hope, where he will grow up. But a name that tells the unfathomable true story of God-with-us. A story of belonging.
How he would drag his brother’s Big Wheel to the road when I was distracted by a neighbor or a weedy garden and lifting his feet off the pavement, sail down the hill while I sprinted and panted and prayed to catch up, to catch him before a car did. Courageous stories.
How he would mimic his brother in goodness and in rebellion. How a hug from that older brother could soothe cries that no mother-love touched while a refusal to play from that brother meant the world was crashing in on him. Stories of love.
How his laugh infected us on our worst days and his arms folded across his chest six months before he should be able to throw a tantrum gave us a glimpse of God’s heart toward us, his ever-loved and often-obstinate children. Stories that made us who we are.
His eyelids flutter and I pray for his story, the one I will help shape, the one that is changing me every day.