I sit, holding you in my lap, as I try to type one-handedly, jostling you on my knee and cooing softly in your ear. You are a very patient boy to put up with this addiction Mommy has to her writing, no matter how lame it can be at times.
I took you to church this morning at Beacon Heights, at the church where you have been loved and nurtured in your short life, despite the negligence I have had in regularly attending. We attended what I like to call the "happy clappy" service, where the lyrics to the songs are projected on the wall more often than sung out of the hymnal, and where there are a plethora of swaying Brethren and Sistern. Your mother is a traditionalist, and prefers the more staid first service at 9:00, but I find that the 11:15 contemporary service, a time when I believe God intends worshop to begin, appeals to our sleep schedules, and so I can tolerate happy-clappiness for sleep's sake, and being a progressive CoB the theology is good at either service, so we can't ask for more. And you, you seem to enjoy the oh-so-very cheerful nature of it all in this second service, cooing and charming the pants off everyone you encountered, vocalizing loudly during the "Hallelujah" song (and the pastor's sermon). Grammy went with us, and you found that sitting between us you had the exquisite attention of two women, add to that the wonderful kindergarden teacher who sat in front of us and let you suck on her finger, and the church assistant who sat behind us and let you tease her with your toothless grin, and life was pretty sweet.
While I joke about the relentlessly cheery nature of a contemporary service, while I often make semi-derisive comments about our denomination, I also want you to know what it means to me that you have been welcomed into this body of like-minded folk who practice the teachings of Jesus and how utterly grateful I am that you have a community to embrace you and name you and affirm you and teach you. And, I do want you to grow up in this denomination. I want you to learn to follow Jesus, to practice justice and to embrace peace and to believe in the radical gentleness and strength of love. I would like to see you commit your life to some belief, to some Source of love, to practice some sort of discipleship, to make this world a better place.
But, I want you to be discerning as well. I want you to seek truth, but I want you to be suspicious of those who promise you easy answers, and those who don't speak of what it means for you to count the cost of faith, however you weill choose to define it. Ask questions, Grayson, even if you are afraid of some of the answers. And know that there are pilgrims on this journey who will sustain you, and in whom you can turn when you doubt. But mostly, know that God is all loving, and that life is all grace.
Okay, mama will step out of the pulpit now and tell you a little more of who I see you becoming this month...
First and foremost, I apologize for the squash incident. I got so excited at the introduction of baby foods of the vegetable variety that I, perhaps, encouraged the squash a little too vigorously and the look on your face when I continued to spoon it between your clenched lips, as you continued to spit tje orange ooze out, was a look of such utter betrayal, as if I were forcing you to attend your first day of high school with a pocket-protector in you breast pocket, or making you take up the tuba as a hobby. It was a look that said, "You are so clearly unhip and wrong, and you just don't understand." Just so you know, I have taken squash out of the cabinet and will donate it to the food pantry, because that's the kind of cool mom I am.
Your gurgling and cooing and zerberting have reached mammoth proportions and you sigh with a vigorous exhale when contented. You have recently learned the power of noise and become increasingly louder when we don't pay enough attention to you.
I don't have words to describe the emotion I feel when I look at the pictures of you with your grandpa at the top of this entry, just as I don't have words to describe the sweet cooing voice that your grammy makes in your ear. These tendernesses that you're sharing with them, which are wholly apart from my relationship with them, rekindle in me memories of their parenting of me, and remind me of what I want to pass on to you. You have no idea how incredibly blessed you are to have your grandparents--all five of them.
And now, my lamb, my sweet, you have fallen asleep in my lap, your head drooping over my arm, your breathing steady and regular. We'll go upstairs and have a bath, and put on our jammies, and I'll whisper in your ear the blessings we saw today, and we'll thank a good God for the gifts we've seen, and I'll whisper my customary goodnight, "I love you, I love you, I love you" as you fall asleep in your big boy crib, kisses freshly planted on your soft downy hair.