Thursday, March 11, 2010

what did I tell ya? there's the whole world at your feet.

It’s been over a month since the last Nanny Diaries post. I apologize. In all honesty, it seems like every time I sit down to write an interruption alwa –

“KAAAATIE, how much longer?”

29 minutes and 57 seconds.

“How long has it been?” 3 seconds. “Are you sure?” Would I lie to you? “No.”

– and I’ve been trying to keep a record of my adventures with my kids, so I could tell you some of our stories, our moments.

“Wait, how old are you again?” Eighteen. “I thought when people turn eighteen they do bad things and get arrested and go to jail.” What?! Where did you…. Hold up. C2, focus for me, okay?” “Okay. “So, how much longer now?” READ.

C2 squints at me and props his book up on the coffee table. The light from the ceiling fan hits the shiny surface of the page, and the outline of a highly uncommon, African snake bounces off the glass. I turn back around in my chair, close my eyes, count (5, 4, 3, 2). “Hey Katie?” Hey, C2?

“How much longer?”

28 minutes and 11 seconds.

“No way.” He hops up and stands underneath the microwave. “Oh yeah. You’re right.” Thank you. He wanders from the stovetop to the sink to the pantry. Hey mister, if you don’t sit down now, I’m adding time to the clock. He skips back to his exotic reptiles.

He sinks to his knees and presses his bare toes against the base of the couch. The cat waddles over and curls up on the pillow behind his head next to Pancho, C2’s favorite stuffed monkey. Behind the pillow rest two remote controls lying in perfect parallel lines, one product of the slightly OCD, after-school routine he’s established for himself.

Over the last seven months, our time together has molded into a slightly predictable pattern: the bus drops off my kiddo clad in his Peyton Manning jersey at the same time everyday; he takes his shoes off and tosses a sock at my head; I interrogate him about school and miss-what’s-her-name from the back of the bus; he tosses the other sock at my head; and he wanders into the kitchen, back into the living room: “I like to watch TV in peace after a hard day of work.” Okay, you’re EIGHT.

A few weeks ago, my kid wandered straight into the house: no frogs in hand, no stopping to attack zombies. He wandered in and smiled at me. (Uh oh.) The first sock landed on my shoulder but without the chatter which normally accompanies it. I began questioning C2 about life (think soft-core Jack Bauer), but he shook his head and didn’t respond. What? He began an elaborate combination of sign language and charades until I understood: he lost his voice. I followed him into the kitchen to check for fever and to find out if his throat hurt as well; he reached for a pad of paper and jotted down: “no, voice only.” He kicked off his (extra-quiet) half-hour-in-peace in the usual way: the wooden doors separating the kitchen and the living room closed, and my little mime bounced out of sight. As I pulled out homework, I listened to Candace yelling for her mom, and I heard my child as he jumped on the futon. (That’s right, C2, I know what you do in there.) As Phineas and Ferb said goodbye to the Lake Nose Monster, the wheels of C1’s bus wheeled to a stop. Like clockwork, the front door slammed shut, his backpack hit the floor, and the tennis-shoe-shuffle grew closer and closer to the shut wooden doors. (5, 4, 3, 2) “Wow, C2, why are you watching that?” C1 dived for the remote, and from behind closed doors, I mouthed “STOP, C1” at the exact moment as my voiceless C2 in the next room. Wait a minute. My textbook hit the kitchen bar, and the wooden doors flew back open. Child, I thought you lost your voice?! He grinned. “Oh, yeah.”


“KATIE!” Yes? “Katie… you’re not reading.” I know – I’m working on a story. C2, you’re not reading either. “Yes, I am!” If you’re talking, you’re not reading. “Nuh-uh, I AM reading.” If you want to keep talking, you can read aloud. He considers this. “How much longer?”

12 minutes. He turns the page.

At the end of the last month, in the bathroom down the hall from the spot where he’s reading, C2 and I sat on top of the counter, cross-legged, staring at the mirror, waiting for nearly 45 minutes. C2 had his finger in his mouth, squeezing a little white tooth that dangled from his gums. After telling stories about how he was going to get a string and tie it to the door, he lowered his hand from his mouth and showed me a tight fist. His fingers opened gently, slowly, and his big brown eyes flashed from confusion to horror to utter glee. He called his mom and, later, ran to the door when his dad walked in: chin tipped toward the sky, tongue in the new hole, smile stretched as wide as his cheeks could manage.


C1, I can see you. His floppy-haired-head pops up from behind the kitchen counter. Go sit down. “I didn’t ask!” I know, kiddo. And guess what... you’re almost done. He walks past the TV’s black screen and kneels down one last time.

A week ago, he begged me to watch a fictional documentary he had seen the night before on Animal Planet. We curled up on the couch, and as the scenes became graphic, we started talking about aliens and space and heaven and Jesus. “I’m going to go into space and fly to the end of it to see what’s there. I want to fly to the very top.” You’ll fly and fly, but God created billions of galaxies out there. He spoke and the stars and the planets and the world all lined up and were stretched way out there. He’s THAT powerful, and He still knows and cares about you and me. Cool, huh? He looked up at me and out the window.


“I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER!! I CANNOT TAKE IT. What does the clock say?”

3 minutes.

I don’t know. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in this place, within THIS moment. However, I want each story captured and recorded, so I can look back and say: Look where we’ve come from. Look what my God has done. Look at how He’s worked HERE and set THIS thing up; look at how He’s changing us. Look at who He is. SEE IT. KNOW IT. It’s real. HE’s real. That one time, when we thought it couldn’t get worse, He was there; He was comforting. And then when we were giggling so hard we couldn’t stand, He was there; He rejoiced in our joy. He spoke that joy into existence. It’s HIS. And when it hurt, when the pain was so bad, He was there; He understood. He was with us: our rock, our comforter, our healer, our refuge, our God. And we’ve seen what He’s done, and we don’t know what’s to come… but He’ll be there again. And again. And again. And we’ll give Him all of our moments.

“…. KATIE, what does it say?”

10 seconds.

Moment: when C1 tackled C2 and accidently tore off a scab from a previous injury. Moment: when C2 then commanded that I take a picture of the blood dripping down his leg to show his mom, so C1 would get in trouble. Moment: when Andy (the newly adopted, deaf, 3-legged kitten) stopped running for the dark corner under C2’s bed every time he approached and, instead, started falling asleep beside him. Moment: when C2 took the phone I handed him and screamed bloody murder for no apparent reason. . . . Moment: when C2 climbed the fence in his backyard and fell into the neighbor’s yard. Moment: when he started singing on the other side of the fence. Moment: when I wondered if it was really necessary to walk around and ring the neighbor’s doorbell to retrieve him. (Just kidding) Moment: when C1 completed his first science fair (and placed). Moment: when C2 wiggled his finger at me and whispered that, you know, he didn’t reeeally think it was important to show his dad the picture I took of him attacking C1. Moment: when we lost a neighbor kid in the house and found him 20 minutes later in a closet by himself. Moment: when C2 zoomed down the stairs with a tiny, wooden airplane in hand and then zoomed right out the door. Moment: when he looked over his shoulder to make sure I was behind him: “You should see what it does with a BIG gust of wind!” Moment: when he skipped ahead and turned around one more time to double check that I was watching before he let go. “Ready?”

Only through Your wonderful, beautiful, scandalous grace, Lord, will I find the strength to trust You with the moments past, with the moments I’m in, with the moments to come. Let my every moment contain all moments, let each one be wrapped around Your will for my life, let all bring You glory. Jesus, I’m so ready.

You are the One who holds my life and my kiddos. You are the One who sustains us. You are the One who created laughter, story, moments. You are.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

episode 19 / episode 20 / episode 21

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