Oct 072009

All the talk of water yesterday reminded me of something that happened on my 30th birthday.

We had just returned home from a birthday dinner and Craig had drawn me a bath, lit a few candles, and told the kids that Santa doesn’t visit kids who harass their mommy in the bathtub on her birthday. I soaked in the bathtub feeling grateful that I’d made it another lap around the mommy track without any career threatening injuries. It was a good day.

Of course, a few minutes into my peace there was a knock on the door and Chase waddled in carrying a mug with little Christmas trees all over it. He stood hopefully but tentatively by the door. He was three years old. His baby fat hadn’t abandoned him yet so he held the mug with two dimpled hands as thick as they were long. His smile and cheeks were so huge that I could barely see his Asian eyes. His belly rounded out his footie pajamas as if he were hiding something in there. He looked just like the Buddha.

He hesitated at the door for a moment and then asked sheepishly if he could come in. I said yes. He walked over to the tub and looked longingly at the bubbles. Then he handed me the mug and said “I brought you some water, mommy.” The water was lukewarm, and had a lot of dirt in it. Just like the tub, as a matter of fact. It was perfect, and when I told him so, he smiled even bigger. Then his face got quite serious and he said,

“Mommy, daddy said I had to stay outside, but can I wash your feet before I go?”

After a surprised moment I said something like. “Um, sure, honey.” I handed him the soap and he kneeled down. I propped my feet up on the cold, porcelain tub edge and Chase’s chubby little fingers did their best to scrub my feet. The soap kept slipping out of his hands so we had to keep retrieving it. But he kept at it. I felt a lot like the disciples probably felt when Jesus washed their feet. Shocked and touched, but mostly very ticklish and awkward.

When he finished, he put my feet gently back in the water and asked what I was reading. I told him it was a new book daddy had given me for my birthday. He said “Oh. Well I’m gonna go now, but I’ll be right out there if you need help with any hard words.”And then he walked out.

That night, after we put the kids to bed, I told Craig what had happened in the bathroom. He immediately teared up…he’s such a softie. He told me that at bedtime the night before, he and Chase read the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Chase asked Craig why Jesus would do something like that. He thought it was kind of funny and weird.Craig told Chase that Jesus washed his friends’ feet to teach us how to show love, because when you love someone you serve him or her. Even if it feels funny or weird.

Regardless of your faith, isn’t that something?

Oct 082009

The Truth of the Thing

You and I stand side by side in the kitchen,

Spreading mustard on this bread,

Peanut butter on that bread,

Pouring a million little cups of water.

The kids wait loudly at the table.

You start to serve too soon,

So I grab a sandwich and bite it.

Then put it back on the plate for delivery.

We all sit down, say grace.

Thank you God, for this family, for this beautiful day,

help us be patient with each other.

Ten hands unfold and dig in.

You say to me,

Why do you always take a bite

before we sit down?

I cock my head in mock confusion.

I don’t know, I say.

But I do know.

I take a bite first because

All sandwiches are not created equal,

Even when one tries, a little, to make them so.

One has softer bead,

More meat, crisper lettuce,

A tomato slice of a more perfect thickness and diameter

Than the other.

And husband, I love you and I love these kids.

But I also love a good sandwich.

And that’s why I bite before delivery.

I bite the best one.

So nobody else at this table

Accidentally gets it.

Oh, you say.

Then why do you sometimes bite them all?

Let’s just eat, I say.

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