A.M. Wanderlust

3-13-11

 

James woke up in our bed this morning, and he refused to get out of it.

So I take his older brother, Henry, to the kitchen, where I drizzle some honey on his cereal. The sky is dark and the coffee takes too long. After packing his snack for kindergarten, I guide him through the rest of his morning routine.

With so much patience.

He wants to know if his teeth are clean. Can he wear a different shirt? Did I remember to send money for the Halloween Dance? He wants to wear a different pair of shoes.

“Daddy, it's just that I wore these shoes yesterday. And the day before that.”

We're all dying from the monotony, it seems.

And then I wonder how James is coping with his morning. I open the door. The room's dark. I can't see him, but I hear a voice.

“Daddy?” he calls. “I hear an airplane.”

His voice is soft like pyjamas. He's lying on his back, but his imagination has already crossed a few continents. Quite possibly, he's already had his breakfast with Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker.

“Yes,” I tell him, “I hear the plane, too.”

I take a seat beside him. And as we listen to this moving hum, I kind of remember how a little imagination before breakfast makes for a nicer way to travel.

 

Even If China Attacks

James runs past the front door of our church to find his coat. He sort of skids when he looks up and sees Jesus standing outside the tomb.

James slows, then stops, and pivots long enough to find the holes in the feet, and the ones at the wrists. He soaks up the image in the painting, quietly, without the help of adults. And then he’s off running again.

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Reading and Writing

My four year-old sits quietly in the pew with his pen and paper. All around him, the sanctuary is dark and full of mystery. 
 
His slow hand moves and concentrates across the space and centimeters of paper. I hear deep, unspoken conversations taking place between him and the lines and shapes. 
 
He works like a surgeon, speaks from behind a mask. On my side of childhood, words can get lost here.

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Lord, I’m Listening to You, Too.

Lately, my wife and I have listened to problems fall down and stack up around us like walls of Lego blocks. So if we can’t see over them right now, could we at least listen to something different?

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Praying With Bill

Meet Bill. Bill likes kids. Bill likes our kids. Our kids really like Bill.

And, now, I really like Bill, too.

Bill’s a praying mantis. I met Bill Saturday. I brought Bill inside to meet my family. We had a great time. We decided to keep Bill.

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Brace Yourself

Soon after our first child was born, the doctor informed us that Henry might have congenital hip dysplasia.

Aside from that, he appeared perfectly healthy. Even so, Mom and Dad left the hospital with a small limp of anxiety.

Another doctor confirmed the diagnosis a few weeks later. As a new parent I knew Henry’s first step was still many months away, but now it wobbled with a new kind of uncertainty.

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“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

The song fell from the sky like a life-preserver. Not to release me from my environment, but to steady my perspective.

Yesterday I sat among the Lego shards of a primary-colored catastrophe. As two preschool-aged children stumbled and sifted through the ruins, their vulture-like screams blasted across the blocks. Barefoot, Henry stepped on pointy ridges. And victimized, James writhed as his older brother pillaged his stockpile of shiny, glasslike plastic pegs. Continue reading