“Who’s your favorite character from Minecraft?” he says. “Ummm, maybe Hero Brian?” I say.
“It’s not Hero Brian, it’s Herobrine and he’s evil, so he shouldn’t be your favorite,” my son replies with his longish-hair, scraggly, some missing, some half-growing-in-teeth-toothless-grin…
He goes on and on about each character, explains having to “mine” cows for leather if you want to craft armor and all of it’s confusing and a little bit boring and I remember to not roll my eyes because he can see them in the rearview mirror and there was a time when I prayed that he’d simply speak.
I woke from a dream, smiling. I’d heard my little boy’s baby-Muppet voice and was trying to remember what he’d said, word-for-word, so that I could tell my husband that our son could talk after all. I sat up, had some water, and tried to grasp his words from the air before they floated out the window.
The darkness beyond the window reminded me that it was the middle of the night and my smile danced out, along with the words I’d lost, to play among the dew on the grass before the sun came up. They giggled as they flew out.
It’d been a dream. I crept down the stairs to sit outside and remember how big the world is.
The sounds around me were of slumber. An occasional car drove by and I wondered where they were going at 3am.
To the hospital to have a baby? Home late from a party? Ready to shower off 24-hour diner burgers from their skin?
I thought about how in France, people were checking email and getting coffee. How the sun had already risen there.
I crept back to bed and the next morning, made a list for my little boy’s preschool teachers so that they’d know that “ah” meant water. I called it Tuck-Talk and keep a copy today when backseat tales of character attributes in Minecraft make me want to roll my eyes.
His nose was stuffy last night, and I thought about giving him Benadryl to sleep but he promised he didn’t need it, and, although I could hear the congestion, let it go. He slept but the sounds of his footsteps around 3am woke me. I’ll never understand how my husband’s snores that peel paint from walls do not wake me but the tiny steps of my seven-year-old’s feet down the hall do, each and every time.
“Mommy, I want you,” he said.
“Of course,” I said, and got up, grabbed my water, and followed him to his room. He settled down, stuffy and snotty, and I said “I guess we should have had the Benadryl, huh?”
“No,” he said. “I’ll just keep breathing in and out over and over.”
I thought about how simple that is. Your nose is stuffed but you just keep breathing in and out over and over.
I wondered at his use of those words. Ones I’ve typed to swim through the darker moments and the less sure days and, well, life.
Today, along with some co-workers, we visited a woman we used to work with. She was given a year to live about three months ago. “What things have you realized are important and not since you found out?” one of my co-workers asked.
“This,” she said. “Talking to people. Telling them that I’m okay with dying. Spreading love, and God’s word. Spending time with family and friends. The rest of it doesn’t matter. I drove myself to the doctor’s office, not knowing what was wrong, and was told I’d never live alone again. That my entire liver, with the exception of a strip at the bottom is black. Cancer. I just want to spend time with people. I’ve already told my nieces and nephews to get what they want from my apartment. I haven’t been back since I drove myself to the doctor’s. I drove myself, independent, and now, I’ll never be independent again,” she said.
I felt glad that last night, I took my little boy to a trampoline park. That he was proud of his flip.
This world of ours is more messy than I’ve known it to be as a grown-up. I’m sad and worried about this country and no, it’s not because my candidate didn’t win…there’s something much, much deeper happening.
It’s time to stand together and remember that America is the place that promises to give our tired, our poor, and our huddled masses a place of freedom and liberty whether we are black, brown, woman or man, gay, straight, Muslim or Christian or Jewish or anything and everything else.
It’s time to keep breathing, in and out, over and over and to have the faith that my seven-year-old does with his stuffy nose that if we do this – the keep breathing thing – that the righting of the wrongs and the defending of injustices and the spreading of love and hugs will follow.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The sounds around me…”