I haven’t written anything in a long time, and the longer you go without doing something, the easier it is to forget about it and rationalize why you stopped– that’s how I stopped studying Spanish, how I stopped cooking, and how I stopped taking care of my eyebrows. Anyways, we’re back from this unscheduled break to talk about Andrew’s birthday.
My son turned three last Friday, and I stayed home with him so we could go out for a special brunch, play with toys, and talk about how big he was now. It was an idyllic morning, with the sun out after a night of torrential rains and the heat washed out of the air. He wore shorts, a cute sweater, and his light-up shark boots so we could stomp in the puddles on the way back.
He sat across a cafe table from me, his mop of blonde hair making him look like a young Luke Skywalker, and sipped an entire cup of apple juice and ate a strawberry pancake with his hands while I enjoyed an eggs benedict. He didn’t have much to say, so we colored on the napkins with a pen and munched thoughtfully. Then on the way back, he stomped in every single puddle, even the massive one that came up to his shins. He waded out into that one with little apprehensive giggles and then stood there, taking in the lake that had been waiting for him all day.
There were more birthday adventures–he got a bunch of Hot Wheels cars and a machine that flings them around a racetrack at lightning speed…we had fun with that one. His daddy gave him a bunch of rubber frogs and set them up in a trail to the breakfast table, prompting a sleepy-eyed Drew to fall to his knees and announce, “Fwogs! My birthday pwesents!” And I baked him a bunch of brownies with m&m’s that he called “Birthday cakes”, but the best part of turning three was the moment when I told him, “Say the Gospel for everyone.”
A few days ago, I was listening to some worship song on the way to school with him (I don’t remember which one), and we were holding hands…him in the back, me in the front. And something about the song prompted me to say, “Hey Drew, do you know what happened after Jesus died? He rose again!” And he repeated the next few lines, word by word, like a song or a game, until I knew he knew them.
This is the Gospel according to Drew. It hopefully stands the test of theologians, but it was the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment. Teaching him this was the most important thing I’ve ever done. More important than teaching him to use the toilet (which hasn’t happened yet), more important than teaching him to count to twenty (I only did half of that), and more important than his poster of Drew’s Rules (which he calls Drew and Trogdor’s Rules). The sense of urgency I felt, the urgency to make sure he KNEW, was finally lessened. He may not get it, but at least he can say it.
“After Jesus died, he rose again!
Mary said, ‘where IS Jesus?’
And he said, ‘I’m right here, Mary. I love you guys.’
The disciples said, ‘Jesus! You’re back!’
He said, ‘Listen, guys…if you believe in me, you will rise too.’
And they said, ‘yes sir.'”
Whatever happens in my life, whether or not the basil dies (it has), whether or not I’m as smart or as pretty as I want to be (I’m not), that was the most important thing that has happened in a long time. And it happened all of a sudden, in the car on the way to school.
Three years ago, I was facing down my first Mother’s Day on zero sleep, and Drew was just a loud stranger who loved to snuggle. This evening, he’s a three-year-old in dinosaur jammies who fussed and threw a book at me when I didn’t do something he wanted, then lay down on the rug next to me and said, ‘Wanna snuggle?’ Life goes on.
Thanks, team. Happy birthday, Drew.