40 Pounds, Jesus, and the Queen
My son stalks into the room carrying my tape measure. His toddler head rolls around on his small frame looking for the proper object of study. His eyes alight on a small shelf near the foot of our bed. He marches to the subject, pulls the measuring tape from its socket, tilts his head and announces to the room, “40 pounds!”
My son walks up to me smiling. “You look like Jesus, dad.” I’m not exactly sure what to say. While we aren’t Nestorians, we don’t have a plethora of icons or images lying around either. And while he does have a small picture Bible I don’t think we’ve spent too much time dwelling on the physique of the artist-rendered man portraying our Lord. In fact, one pious (or not so pious) bible story book tactfully manages to block or cut out the face of the Christ-figure in every picture he’s present in. But my son nevertheless says I look like Jesus. I’m not exactly sure what he means. So I ask him. “What do you mean, son?” He shrugs his shoulders and says, “Jesus was a good man, dad. And you’re a good man, dad.” I’m grateful for the compliment, but I’m still not sure exactly where to go with this new information. In fact, while I was undone by my son’s initial annunciation, I’m far more skeptical now of the whole thing. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably go hunting through the house to find out exactly what my son had been doing just prior to this new revelation about his father’s Christ-likeness. If I know my son at all, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this glorious inspiration occurred hot on the heals of some high handed sin. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get my chance, and in the mean time I’ll try to take advantage of my new found theophanic status.
My daughter is a drama queen. She pulls faces like only a three month old can pull. And you believe her every time. She’s broken hearted; she’s despairing of her life; woe is her. We believe her. You believe her. We are all suckers. She is a goddess, and we do her bidding. Actually, we don’t really, but sometimes we try and then she makes some fatal mistake. Sometimes it’s a loud noise or a particularly intense moment in the music in the background, but her bulging eyes and puckered face and rolling tears will stop like a switch and she’ll peer out at her surroundings with a slight scowl, slightly annoyed that someone has interrupted her impromptu colical monologue. Then we watch her. She doesn’t see us, but we’re watching. She’s blowing bubbles, cooing, and looking at her fingers with déjà vu eyes like artifacts from a world she’s been to long, long ago. She looks up at the fan; that fan and she go way back. He’s always been there for her. When her parents left her to fall asleep on their bed, when they left her there crying in the late afternoon sun while they bustled about ignorantly in the kitchen preparing food for their bellies. But the fan has always been there; sometimes moving, sometimes still but a friend in the straits of a three month old’s life. She squeals and blows a raspberry for the fan. She twists to the right; she turns left, arching her back and extending her puff pastry legs. Her mother and I finally resume our tasks and she catches the movement in the distance. As though pause had only been momentarily pushed, the previous scene resumes and the baleful lament is once again offered up to host of high heaven.