“this is how it works,” he whispered to the one tucked in folds of blue. “when you’re hurt and needing a hug, you go to mommy. and when you’re wanting a good time, you come to me.”

they lie on crimson sheets while i brush my teeth and our other son sleeps the bedroom next-door and it’s becoming a real thing, this family of four–the kind where each of us has a child on a knee and neither has arms for the other but we’re all eyes, seeing him for the dad that he is, all playing and reading stories and talking in a baby voice i never knew he had, and me being the woman who gave birth without drugs and lived to tell about it.

and it’s the kind that sees older son become a living emblem of love, wrapping arms tight around brother little and saying “uh-oh” when baby cries, running to the bassinet and begging to be the one to hold, and how my prayers have been answered

“he loves so deep” i whisper to husband and we watch one so young become caregiver to another–and what if he’d never had the chance? and what does this breaking of self do to a child?

and i hear the Lord say of my older, “tender-heart,” and of the younger, “lion-heart” and they share the same skin, the same chin, the same lips and long skinny toes

and when youngest is finally tucked in crib we lie there in the dark, their father and i, and he touches sacred my empty womb, silent marveling, and the world is fuller now for these stretch marks and wounds, for the lives in the beds down the hall

(begging patience, friends, as i’ve hardly had time to wash my face this week let alone read blogs, but i miss you and will be around shortly…)

thankful, as always, with ann:

500. our new boy, all 8 lbs and 14 oz and 21.5″ of soft skin
501. neighbors’ quiet gifts and congratulations
502. you readers and your warmth, your love, your goodness to me (thank you)
503. sleep-ins while husband cares for older son
504. flowers fully blooming in garden
505. quiet afternoons spent becoming family
506. reading of the psalms before bed, silencing my soul
507. gifts in the mail from you
508. time to paint in spite of everything
509. new mercies every morning, like honey on toast and coffee in a mug
510. my boy calling me “mama” for the first time, over and over