The cheeks of a two-year-old are delightfully irresistible, which is why I kiss them as often as I can. This morning, in fact, I leaned over and planted one on Levi’s tender cheek for a reason I cannot remember, but he quickly pulled back in pain.
Yesterday he fell while standing on a sideways can of chicken broth that lay on the dining room floor. He whacked his soft cheek hard on a sturdy wooden chair and came up screaming, red faced. Today he sports a deep blue bruise that runs like war paint across the most sensitive part of his face.
“No,” he said, pointing to his cheek after my ill-placed kiss, “boo-boo.”
Then he turned his head and offered me the other.
I kissed it too.
It was so gray this morning. This Monday, this second try at getting the kids back to school after a snow day kept them home last week and a two-hour delay threw schedules into havoc again today. Yesterday was filled with freezing rain and ice and I had hoped, just maybe, we might get one of those clear crystalline mornings out of it all, when the world is dressed in icy diamonds with sun glittering down. But, no, wet slush and gray cloud-filled skies cast shadows over us all and I found myself standing crying over the dishes in the sink while my children bickered and fussed, swirling in layers of need and want, heavy like those clouds.
I went to the attic, flash light in hand, and dug out Brennan Manning’s book, Ruthless Trust, and yet another floor lamp, hoping both would shed some light. But our outlets are all full and the lamp stood dim in a dimmer corner.
Finally I went to the window, the one that looks out on all of the ugly, pulled back the curtain and cursed the sky.
“This is such an ugly day,” I said while my children watched, gathered at the dining room table. My words struck the sky, heaven’s tender cheek.
Those words hurled in front of my kids felt like blasphemy to me. Then my daughter followed and peering out confirmed, “Yes, it is ugly.”
Later, standing in the laundry room which is really a walled-in porch I felt the sun lay warm across my cheek and paused under its caress. That room’s usually half-frozen and I rush about in it wrestling icy cold clothes from washer to dryer.
But on sunny days, it’s one of the only rooms in this whole cave, where the light pours in, abundant. On those days the sun warms it like a spa and the windows fog with moisture.
Icy winds blew in this morning, breaking clouds, shaking branches, causing the twins and I to bustle as we trotted through frozen parking lots. “Run, run, run,” we sang, “Don’t slip! Don’t fall!”
Then Isaiah fell and I almost did too, but the sun kept up its peaking.
By the time I went to check on the laundry the back room was lit like a flash bulb, bright and I was blinded like someone emerging from a cave. I suppose that was why I felt it and paused there by the window soaking in the warm kiss of the sun on the most sensitive part of my face.
The boys woke up crying from their naps and things were touch and go for awhile. So I sat on the old wooden floor in the kitchen while they clustered nearby with snacks and juice.
Levi turned to me red faced and sleepy eyed and I said, grinning, “I’m gonna eat your cheeks.”
Then both boys turned, as if on cue, and started stalking their way toward me, hands raised and growling. Two sock-footed, fleecey-pants-wearing, sweaty-headed bears with round mouths open wide.
“Eat Mama!” they taunted, leaning in with gaping jaws. They planted wide, wet circles on my cheeks, each standing on either side and we laughed and giggled and I covered them both, cheek to cheek, with kisses.
This post is linked with Playdates With God.