A Monkey’s Mother

She rises before the sun has released its morning yawn. She places her feet on unforgiving tile and heads toward the room where our love has slept—and now squeals. The little girl with a smile turns her eyes away from the lamp switched on.

“Good morning!” she tells her. Piper responds in language less than English. The woman with the boy inside walks to the crib. Over the rail she lifts a fox, a duck, and a monkey-butt, carrying this zoo into the area where most things fragile have been removed. But not everything.

Indie folk musicians or talking vegetables aid sanity when the hour is early. She sings. Yet a captured attention is not a still body. The monkey-butt climbs over cushions and pillows and various obstructions that cause her to take offense. This is her father’s contribution. She wants the window.

“Cold,” she says, tapping her hand on the glass.

“Yes, cold,” mom encourages, and she adjusts the blinds for young eyes to see. Outside’s poverty of light makes the window a mirror. Piper is not disappointed.

Rebekah runs her fingers through thin, blond hair. Her lips meet a place on the crown that met the tile the day before. Throwing naptime fits meant throwing herself from bed. First climbing over the rail, of course.

The girl no longer feels the sting, but mom does.

Internal bleeding, fractured skull—be sure to look for signs of these. The nurse on the phone concluded her explanation, “You’ll just need to bring her to the E.R.” To return there, more precisely. New life welcomed, a week at the house, and then six days at Children’s. Tiny, invisible veins stipulate scalpel intravenous treatment. Bad memories do not deter parents from caring for children, but a second opinion allows them to stay home.

Home. To love is to be near to sorrow. To grant pain a guest room. We love fragile things. But God created love to last—and children too.

It’s time for breakfast. Food is thrown, as happens when monkeys are around. Patience. “No ma’am,” she corrects, and scoops the remaining items from her tray. Piper waves her hands about to signal that she’s “all done.” She’ll need to wait in her chair for a moment; it’s time for coffee.

Beans freshly broken bleed oils as they are ground. The scent is striking to pregnancy-empowered senses. She pours water in the pot and flips the switch. This will be enjoyed.

Life is made of moments like these. They flee quickly; we cannot hold them captive. But they are no less ours. This tired body given in service to three, this morning near to memories of shed tears, this distilling of God’s creative wonder lifted to the lips and tasted—la vie est belle.

The monkey-butt’s growing restless. Rebekah looks at the microwave clock. He’s ignoring the alarm again.

She enters the room to wake me. She awakens me.