Archive for August, 2011

Oh Isaac.
August 10, 2011

I don’t have kids.  Which shouldn’t surprise anyone.  I can barely keep the pantry stocked & my jeans ironed.
(Yes. I iron my jeans.  Take your judgement somewhere else Wrinkles McGee.)

No time for reading the uncreased books stacked in haphazard towers on my perfect West Elm Parsons desk, no time to swipe the remnant’s of Essie’s “Bordeaux” off my nails and dash on a coat or two of OPI’s “Chick Flick Cherry”, no time to shuck the golden Indiana sweet corn that’s being snatched from every farmer’s market crate before I can race to get there… I just don’t have the time. 

No time means a cut back on the dinners & dancing, the glittering rock on my hand means no taking my, or someone else’s pants off, and if you do some quick math… that equation will give you the answer for Kate… no kids.

And it’s not even the lack of wedding bells and Pottery Barn Kids catalogues that are keeping me from the interaction with those tiny biters, because there is plenty of opportunity, trust me.  I have twenty-six, yes you heard that correctly, twenty-six toothless grins staring back at me from the refrigerator door and memo board.  Announcements! First Birthday invites! Shower registries for the bundles the stork hasn’t delivered yet!

They’re everywhere. 
And I love ’em. I do.  (I mostly do.)  But sometimes the screaming and the crying and the inability-to-verbalize-what-hurts/itches/burns/needs/changed/burped/fed drives me crazy.  And that’s when I realize if my someday-husband loves me, really really loves me, then we’ll start with sea monkeys. 
Then a bunny.
Then our bulldogs.
And finally, we’ll make our way to getting our kids from whatever land they were born in.

And by that point, hopefully I’ll have figured out the secret language of kidspeak and how to truly not care about the cashmere that’s now covered in puke.  

…It’s been a tumbly, tired, tear-filled few weeks (months.years.) and it’s funny that we think we can stitch up what’s ripping ragged edges in our hearts, if only we could find the right thread.   (The right 6’4”, tattooed,witty thread…)

2 weeks ago my Friday ended surprisingly at lunchtime and so I spun the Civic’s wheels north towards my best friend’s house for a surprise and a moment to breathe and just be.  We grocery shopped and giggled and made a dinner out of fresh basil from the garden and dessert from a heap of sugar & sweet summer strawberries & hearts cut out of the pie crust. 

After hours of just being us, teasing her hubby and smooching her son, everyone said goodnight and I snuggled into my favorite striped sheets.  The world’s comfiest queen lulled me to sleep quickly but the morning came early with a heat index similar to the surface of the sun and sobs from across the hall.  While Mom showered and Dad got breakfast ready, my sweet baby Graham screamed the day’s arrival like a little Macedonian rooster. 

I threw off the now swelter inducing covers and wiped the blur out of my eyes.  Stumbling the few feet to his door, I told Mum & Pops that I was happy to take soothing duty.  Poor buddy just wanted up & out.  So, my arms reached down and his little hands on mine, we swung around to the rocking chair and settled in for some soft swaying and early morning whispered lullabies.  I sang every word I could think to rhyme with ‘punkin’ & ‘sweetpea’ as I improvised verses that would have made Mother Goose sorely disappointed.  After realizing that the video monitor was still on and Andy & Andrea were probably getting a grand ol’ show, I turned off my freeverse and opted to fill his tiny ears with whatever was on my heart…

“He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And O how He loves us
Oh, O how He loves us
How He loves us all.”

Over and over. and over. and over. and over.

As I rocked, sweet Graham tucked his head between by chin and shoulder, wrapped his perfect tiny fingers around my arm and every muscle in his body seemed to relax. 
And so did mine.

My lashes fluttered down and my toes tipped the chair back and forth at a steady pace while the thread I desperately needed stitched through a ragged hole in my darkened heart. 

I kept singing David Crowder’s words and turned them into prayers for this beloved babe and even tried to muster the will to pray them for myself.
Minute upon minute piled up and still he snuggled in… scooping in even breaths and exhaling in time with me.  I tried to work my voice around the building lump in my throat.

I hadn’t felt so trusted in so long.  I haven’t felt like I have anything to offer.  Unless I’m whittling away at a guest list or mastering the timing of yet another joke, I don’t feel like there’s much about me to love.  But this little life didn’t really need anything from me except to feel safe in my arms and to hear love in my voice.
And the safety and the love I have for him spilled faster than the really, really hot tears that I was keeping locked up while I enjoyed every moment of feeling loved by someone who had no reason to love me if he didn’t want to.

A quarter of an hour later his Dad came to snatch him up and share some sweet time of his own, but I was left with the lump still in my throat and a little more light inside my chest.

The stitches were swung through not with the thread of a towering GQ clad poet-with-a-dark-side, but with the thread of an eleven-month-old who can’t say my name…who weighs roughly the same as a Christmas goose. 

Tonight I turned the wheel back up to Westfield because there was a babysitting snafu.  I was needed for the gap between mom’s commute to work & dad’s commute from.
Happy to do it, my tired eyes turned up a notch when I walked in to find the babe smiling and his beautiful mama dusting parmesan onto a delicious dinner creation.

After my dinner date finished his peas and was wiped clean, I slid him out of his highchair and slid us both out of the back door to a slight sprinkling in the backyard.  The rain barely tapped us as we sat in the grass directly in the stream of golden hour.  As I held tight to the wiggly love of my life and tickled his ears and nose and toes with blades of grass,  feeling more buoyed by his giggles than his limited vocabulary would’ve understood, I started praying out loud over him.  Praying for his growth and health and heart, praying for his mom and his dad that I love so much, praying for him & Jesus to be best friends…

And while I should have probably been concerned with how much I was creeping out the neighbors, you know what sprang to mind so violently it shook me?
Abraham and Isaac.

Abraham walking his beloved up Mount Moriah with the sickest, heaviest heart.
Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his only son.
Abraham worshipping even though he wasn’t given a reason.
Abraham answering Isaac’s question of “Where is the lamb?”

My locket sans photos of mini-Kates and my arms around a squirming bundle that isn’t even mine and my mind can’t wrap itself around the words from Genesis.

And then, without the Mel Gibson dictated imagery, my head went swimming, mostly unwillingly, to the cross.

His only son.
His love.
His heart walking around outside of His chest.
His boy struggling to stand on broken feet to breathe while he drug his broken skin across bristling beams… pulling up with broken hands to fill lungs behind a broken heart… both in agony to save a broken world… a broken you… a broken me.

And very obviously while I try not to think about what I can’t not think about,  the thread of a Dad is looping in and out of a desperate heart inside a kid who doesn’t have kids.  Who doesn’t really ‘get it” … a daughter who doesn’t remember the grassblade tickling moments with her mom & dad, who doesn’t have someone’s tangible arms tightly keeping her safe now, and who doesn’t trust that anyone ever loved her enough to hurt more than she could just so she wouldn’t have to hurt. 

Maybe on the days I feel patched up enough to laugh, that laugh’ll do for God’s heart what Graham’s sweet giggles do for me.  Maybe someday I will let my breath slow to match His and willingly slow my pace and tuck my head to His shoulder.  Maybe someday I’ll let myself feel safe.

Until I can rally the strength to really, actually believe it’s possible that someone, and above all, Someone, loves me… just a few miles away there is a brown-eyed almost-birthday-boy who has done more to sew the hope of it into my heart than I bet a Junior Mint tinged after-the-first-date-movie-kiss could ever do.

“I would give anything to make you better, I would give anything to point you to free, I would give anything to help you realize, I loved you ’til it killed me.  So my logic wouldn’t hurt you, I know you might blame Me anyway. Well I’m sorry, I’m so sorry you’re not helping yourself to Me.” 
‘Better’ by Brooke Fraser