Micah toddles into my room in the morning after his brother lets him out of his. He crawls up on my bed and nestles under the covers next to me. First he wants tucked in just right and then he wants to nurse. Except after 18 months there really isn’t that much left and he can’t sit still so it isn’t very comfortable. But for 18 months, we have spent the first moments of the morning together like this and that is comfortable. No matter how hard so many of those morning have been, there was always this . . .
Micah begins to fuss. For as much as he wants to nurse, he is also hungry.
“Do you want some kefir?” I ask.
And he drops down off my bed and runs to the kitchen. He dances and claps as I prepare the kefir for the morning and hand him a glass. He drinks it and smiles up at me with a kefir mustache and a kefir beard and kefir dribbling down his stomach . . .
Micah looks in a box of peeping, fuzzy goslings and squeals with delight. He leans close to look, holding his hands together. He is trying hard to not touch while he waits for someone to hold one close to him and help him pet. He leans his cheek against the top of the goslings head and his eyes sparkle . . .
Micah stands in the middle of the gym floor, watching the mass of children run and play. He’s a little overwhelmed with all the activity, but curious, too, and he wants to explore. I watch as he walks a little further away. Someone smiles at him and he turns to look for me. I am there and his whole face lights up as he runs back to me, arms held high, waiting to be swept back up in my arms . . .
Micah climbs up behind his sister on the computer chair while everyone is getting ready to watch Lost in Space. He doesn’t really get the whole show watching thing. He’d rather be redistributing my dishes about the house. Except he wants to do whatever they are doing and right now they are getting ready to watch a show. He gobbles his sister’s back and she laughs.
“You shouldn’t eat your sister!” Bug says.
And then everyone is laughing and Micah is laughing so hard he is having a hard time gobbling . . .
Micah looks at me . . . and he smiles.
And every smile is a treasured gift. A ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds. A breath of fresh air on a hot summer’s afternoon.
Because last year, I was so scared. I was scared that I cried too much and laughed too seldom. I was scared of the effect so much grief would have on such a young baby. I was scared of what he would go through growing up in the shadow of a brother he barely met and never really knew.
I was scared I was going to ruin him.
But when he looks at me, he smiles.
And I’m not so scared anymore.