As I write you are sound asleep, which is really nice. I don’t know what’s up with your naps lately, but you seem to only want them 3 or 4 times a week. Sometimes you fight it all afternoon, sometimes I don’t even bother initiating it, and sometimes, like today, you can hardly wait to get to bed. Yesterday you were so cranky at 11:30 as I was making lunch that I sent you to your room to play alone and when I went to get you for lunch you were sound asleep. Today you are starting in on a third hour of sleep now. Your appetite seems to be increasing too so I am guessing you are in a growth spurt.
Life is crazy for you lately. You are all extremes and often that means extremely cranky. You have long since exhausted my current supply of wisdom and I found myself crying out to God for more yesterday and then thinking “Well of course I am frustrated and confused and unsure of how to shepherd you well. ‘If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God.'” So I am working on that.
I have a story for you this month, one we didn’t tell you when it took place. All those neighbor kids who have completely taken over our little collection of townhouses – the ones you enjoy so much, clearly certain you are just as big as they are… One of them broke your little bike last week, just moments after you’d gone to bed. I was teaching piano lessons and watched them carry it up our steps to proclaim it dead and after my initial breezy dismissal I realized just what had happened and I was so angry.
I felt incensed like David when Nathan the prophet told him about the rich man who took the poor man’s sheep. How could they!? This was my little 2 year old’s bike, the pride and joy of his life, his favoritest favorite toy. You itched to ride that thing and you patiently shared it with one of the big kids now and then. Well, this particular night they’d taken it out for a spin down the rough, steep, grassy hill in front and the plastic of the front wheel mechanism snapped right in two.
I agonized over whether to let you have a last moment with it in the morning and help to put it to rest. I’d like to say that my decision not to was founded in your best interest alone, though to be honest it was probably more a desire not to hear you grunt an obsessive little query about it every hour for the next two months. I knew it was something you just couldn’t understand, so Daddy took it to the dumpster by himself and I am on the prowl for a replacement for you. Meanwhile, you haven’t noticed its absence, you dear two-year-old you.
I had to rehearse my big little life choices to myself that night and go back over it all. I could stop leaving our stuff outside and keep it all indoors. But it’s not like our house has extra space for things like that. I could stop being sweet and gracious and welcoming to our neighbors and make it clear that they need to keep their mitts off our stuff. Instead I say “Sure, just put it back when you’re done!” I could punish them all with stony silence now because I’m so mad at the circumstances. (It’s not like they broke it on purpose.) I wanted to do all of the above. I have never felt so much Mama Bear well up in me. The world was cruel to you, my boy, and I couldn’t fix it, couldn’t protect you. What bothered me so much was the objective injustice of it. You were the victim of the world’s abstract fallenness, and the idealist welled up in me.
I was still pretty irritated about the whole thing when I went to bed but in the morning Matthew 5 was the next chapter in my Bible reading and I found “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” It met me at the point of my craving and struck my imagination: Today we choose to keep loving our neighbors, whoever they are, with open hand and generous heart despite the cost. Tomorrow we will find ourselves in new heavens and new earth, all injustice eradicated, fellowship unbroken, no risks and no regrets, and it will belong to us. Today our prayer should be for meekness and forgiveness in order that our neighbors might see Christ and His framework of grace and in the hope that tomorrow we may enjoy that new earth side by side with them.
In closing I have one more issue I feel compelled to bring up. Last weekend we went on a road trip together and every day since then, Daddy and I have had the songs from the Jonah Veggie Tales Soundtrack CD playing on endless repeat in our addled brains and I think it’s safe to say we know every word by heart. Just remember that in fifty years when you are sorting through all our stuff and tempted to feel we’re asking too much from you.
I love you.