Do you know how much I love you?
He shakes his head, both back and forth and right to left. Smiling. Flirting.
I love you as much as the sky, and all the stars, plus infinity and an apple.
He shakes his head again. No. He says no with his whole body, moving from leg to leg, like a vehement, Tribal No Dance.
Oh, but I do, my love. I love you as much as everything. It is too much for my heart to contain, so I must scoop you up and shower you with kisses.
He giggles. A full-body no turns into a full-body giggle. It is the dance we do together. Nos and kisses. He says no. We kiss. We sit nose to nose. Lots of nos and noses. They are starting to look alike, Beezus and Thor, and like me. Can you ooze gratitude? Can you stink of love? Because it emanates from me. I reek of it.
Thor's eighteen month appointment was yesterday. He has grown two inches in three months. He cries when he sees the Dastardly Nurse and her evil sidekick the Doctor. Everything is terrible in that place. Everything is terrible when you are eighteen months and have to sit still in your diaper. The nurse asks me every appointment how many siblings he has. It is the question that follows, "Does he live with both parents?" and precedes, "Any pets in the home?" And so I know they mean, "How many siblings in the home?" But it always catches me up. I don't know how to answer it. So, I stammer a "One" and wonder for the next half an hour if I should correct it. This is my pediatrician. The same one I have had since Beezus was born four and a half years ago. It seems strange that they don't know about Lucia, but they don't. I was pregnant, then I wasn't, then I had another baby. They never cared for our second daughter. She died before pediatricians. They skipped over that chapter in our daughters' lives. Maybe they didn't realize Lucia lived and died and Beezus and Sam and now Thor and I grieve and mourn and scramble. Maybe they didn't care. (And it is okay that they didn't and don't care.)
Our family is beautiful with him. It was beautiful with the two of us, then her, then her, then him. And a little tail wagging him in the background. Even if the second her died. Even if. Maybe because. Sometimes I think Lucia created our family's beauty, just like she would have if she lived. I have to think that, or I will think something else. Each member of our family is a different element of its beauty. I used to say things in the beginning like, "It isn't supposed to be this way." "She should be here." But now, I don't. It just is this way. I don't know if that is resignation or acceptance. Those things are different, but they get you to the same place. Just like defeat and surrender.
Thor carries a baby doll around now. Santa brought him a little cloth boy doll named Lucas. In boy style, he played with the box rather than the baby. He was eight months old at the time. I thought I could use the doll as a bartering tool when he grabbed Beezus' doll Stella, or Babydoll. That never worked, incidentally. But in lieu of a blankie, or binky, or wooby, or strange shoe, he has grown attached to the doll in the last week. He sleeps with Lucas in the crook of his arm. Sam tried to remove him one night, just ease it out slowly imagining horrors of suffocation by baby doll, but Thor's eyes opened suddenly. He gave Sam the stink eye and he grabbed Lucas again, pulled him close, closed his eyes, and fell back to sleep. He has taken to carrying the little boy doll with him everywhere, kissing him, making the little boy kiss me. He cried yesterday when he didn't have it in the car, and I ran inside and searched for it.
He can have his baby, even if I can't have mine.
He smiled, shook his little hands in exuberance as he tucked Lucas under an arm. When he grows up, he will be a Daddy Bunny.
The soundtrack of our life is Beezus. She sings now, all the time. She writes her own lyrics. She skips and sings, arms raised above her head.
Everything in my heart, I love love love. (click click)
Everything in my heart, I love.
Everything, everything, everything.
When she isn't singing, she is talking. The teacher told me she is very quiet at school. I thought she was teasing me. But then I pictured Beezus tucking herself behind my knees, peeking out. She has always been shy in front of others, a quiet observer, so yeah, I get that. I accompanied her class on a pumpkin picking field trip a few weeks ago and sat next to the teacher. The teacher told me that a boy has a crush on Beezus. He chases her everyday, but he never catches her. I asked Beezus about it, and she said, "All the boys chase me, but I am too fast." And I say a little prayer, "Let her be too fast for a long time, Lord."
As we drove to Thor's eighteen month appointment, Beezus sang a brand new song.
The Earth is better than my heart. The Earth is better than my heart.
Are you saying, 'The Earth is bigger than my heart' or 'Better than my heart'?
Oh. What does that mean?
It means the Earth is better than my heart.