Saturday, January 30, 2016


It's a fine line we walk sometimes, between being stuck in the mess of everyday and the whirlwind quickness of time. There's a tightrope between they-grow-up-so-fast and oh-my-goodness-will-you-ever-be-able-to-put-your-shoes-on, and that tightrope is parenting. I feel it, all the time. Rarely ever do I just feel stuck in the moment, because I know how fleeting it is, and I know that my babies won't be babies forever; in fact, they won't be babies for very long at all. But rarely ever can I just soak a moment in without looking forward, a little bit, to letting go some of the burden of that moment's stage of life.

The inhaling of a sweet milky baby head comes with hours of bouncing and rocking and waking up at night, and that's something, in the moment, I know I won't miss.

The crazy little toddler-isms and mispronunciations that I cherish also come with tantrums and irrationality and random stuff flung in the sink just because, and that's something I know I won't miss.

I love my babies, and I miss their baby-ness, but I look forward to the years ahead. I look forward to conversations with deeper thoughts behind them, and watching my little ones grow out of being little, and grow into their own identities, that have less and less to do with me. I look forward to friends and growth and new interests. I know that will come at the cost of snuggles and spontaneous baby love and cuteness. But that's the way of life. Growth is good, and is to be welcomed, not dreaded because of what it leaves behind.

But at night, every single night, someone wants me to sing Let It Go as I tuck them into bed. Technically, they take turns choosing a song, but it doesn't matter, because it's always Let it Go. And I sing, and I belt it out with everything in me, because, a.) you can't really sing Let It Go without, well, letting it go, and b.) they don't care how I sing because they think I'm amazing and not even my students have that kind of trust in me. And then they sing it with me, and we're all singing together, and tiny little Sylvia is over there in bed saying that the cold never bothered her anyway, and P is singing about frozen fractals like he knows what it means, which he does because he analyzes the heck out of that song constantly, and we've gone over every line in it and talked about Elsa's life experiences and reasons for doing things and what a frozen fractal is, and then...then, friends, life is perfect, for just a little while.

There are things I will miss about having preschoolers, and things I won't miss. There are moments of joy, and moments of frustration. But singing Let It Go all together? No self consciousness, no embarrassment, no horror that they came from a woman who lets it go when she sings Let It Go? This moment I cherish, because it's nothing but good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


"My name reminds me of Jesus."

He says it suddenly, like he says everything. Little thoughts and musings pop out of him at random, often after months of mulling and processing, and it almost always happens in the car on the way to school. I'm grateful for those daily commutes, and I hope as the years pass they will still be the stage for his verbal processing and reflections on the world.

I tell him it should remind him of Jesus, and we go over, for the umpteenth time, the meaning of his name, and with it, the blessing for his life. Peregrine, my pilgrim, my truth seeker, my wrestler, my wanderer, my one determined to do things the hard way and learn by experience. Emmanuel, for no matter his journeys and wrestlings and wanderings, God will always be with him.

He's always thought of his name as special, especially because he shares a name with Jesus. Especially during the Advent season, when we sing what he used to call "The Peregrine Kenneth Emmanuel Song" (known to the rest of the world as O Come O Come Emmanuel), he feels the wonder and weight of sharing a name with the baby God, his connection to that mystery and beauty and marvel.

I've said it before, naming the kids felt so deeply important to Andrew and me. I can't even describe it. I don't tend toward the metaphysical, and I believe far more in faithfulness than destiny. But with naming the kids, I felt, always, as though we were speaking something over them--not a prophecy, necessarily, more a simple naming of what was there. A kind of seeing who they were, but also carving a path for them to walk into. And it was so very different, with both of them. I couldn't have predicted it until they were there, heavy in my womb, little beings alive and full of personality, little hearts and souls unique and created by God. And I couldn't know, then, how very true their names would be, and how much they would need the names we gave them. I can't even imagine what it will be like when they are teens and adults, when their personalities are more developed and mature.

He continues, lightheartedly, as usual, throwing weight and meaning and wisdom around, careless, like all children are, with the most valuable things in the world.

"Sometimes, when I'm scared at night, I just say my name, and it helps me."

I'm floored, really, because that's so much of what I want. So much of what I didn't even know I wanted when Andrew and I first chose his name, for an unknown tiny thing we had not yet even seen. So much that goes above and beyond me, and what I want for him. We tell people to remember who they are, and it's good, but it's never enough, unless you remember who God is, too. Those things together, impossible to untangle, for him now.

So say your name, Peregrine. Say it, and remember. Remember who you are. And in doing it, remember who God is. Remember, above all else, that no matter what, He is with you.