We’re facing each other in the hallway. His fists are clenched and my jaw is clenched and our voices echo off the walls.

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There are photos of all three kids blown up on the wall and they’re beautiful and utterly inappropriate right now because we’re about to go head to head. Not in a frame-worthy way.

How can five years old look so defiant?

How can he be a reflection of all my roots, my past and my furious future glaring out of hot blue eyes the very color of mine?

My suitcase still isn’t unpacked. I have dirty laundry spilling out of my bedroom and out of my life and here in this hallway where my son knows my temper better than any other living creature.

My DNA screams through his tiny veins and throbs in my temple.

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Again. We’re back here again. A day full of a thousand complaints and whiney frustrations. Nothing good enough. Nothing fun enough. Nothing right or cut in the correct shape or served on the plate the proper color.

How can size two shoes leave such painful marks all over my day?

This family of tiny humans stretched to the seams until finally a seam rips right through and it feels good to just grab him. I grab him so hard on his small shoulders that are broader than his big brother’s.

I grab him and get down and proper to his eye level so he can hear every word I’m about to spit out.  Spit back at the boy who after a day of wretched push and pull just told me he wished that when he was born they’d given him to another mother.

Told me with trembling eyes.

This boy who has pushed against me harder this year than the day I delivered him into this world.

I’m about to push back.

My fingers wrap around his tiny man arms and I take a deep breath and it all comes rolling out, all my furious defeated temper, screaming out like a runaway parenting train.

We’re both stunned at what I say.

Utterly unexpected I scream the words we both need to hear,

“I was cut and I bled more for YOU than any other of my kids. It hurt. I still have the scar. And I would do it again and again and again. Because I MUST have a Micah in my life. I must have you.

And if you run away to another mom I will fight her to get you back. I will fight for you and I will win.

I will always win because you are mine. MINE. Do you hear me? And I’m never letting you go.”

And his hard face crumples. His small body sighs into mine. I’m down on my knees now and holding him like I used to when he was still just my baby.

Holding him because somewhere between my brain and my tongue someone rescued me from myself and a gentle spirit slipped grace between my selfish syllables.

Soft sobs in a short hallway with the back pack rack hanging next to us and the relief that there is a God who makes all things new.

 

 

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