Easter morning. Julia had put a golf ball in his shirt pocket.
We had a beautiful Resurrection Sunday. At church, the light from the big windows fell right across our row, flooding us with light so bright that I had to shield my eyes in order to see anything. I wish they would leave those windows open all the time.
I can't remember what songs we sang, but I do remember the song during the offering. It was "Man of Sorrows," and it was lovely. At home and during the day, I sang "Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Hallelujah," and "Up From the Grave He Arose!" Oh how I love the old hymns of resurrection.
Yesterday we drove three hours for a toothbrush. Honestly. Nate had tracked down a dentist who is specially trained in a method called "air ablation," and we hoped he could fix Malachi's cavities this way. But when he got a gander into our baby's mouth, he said the cavities (especially one of them) were so deep that they would need a pulpotomy and filling and crowns. He did not charge us anything for the consult, which was kind, and his assistant gave Malachi a new toothbrush. Our little guy now has toothbrushes all over the house. He has an appointment for a filling with a pediatric dentist. It will involve what they call a papoose, which sounds to me like a strait-jacket. If that proves too traumatic, we'll schedule his other fillings at the hospital with anesthesia.
I'm thankful that we drove so far yesterday for one reason: the dentist assured me the the cavities are not our fault, but that Malachi's teeth have deep crevices which make them all but impossible to clean thoroughly. Have you brushed a baby's teeth lately? It's so difficult. And it turns out that we eat all the time, we are constantly munching on food around here. So brushing after every meal means brushing about eight times a day.
Today I needed to get much work done, so for the first time, I set Malachi to watching "VeggieTales" while I paid bills, helped Anna Kate with grammar, did laundry, and caught up on some cleaning. He lasted for about five minutes. If anyone out there wants to know how we raised an engineer and a doctor (well he's not a doctor yet, but that's the goal), I assure you, that budding engineer and doctor (and later, their little sisters) watched TV. A lot of TV. They remember watching TV for hours and hours. This was how I kept my sanity and Got Things Done. I adore Getting Things Done. But we also spent many hours reading and playing. And our kids say now that their Dad always talked above them, rattling on about things they knew not of. Eventually, when they were about ten, it all started to make sense. So in short, I recommend television, books, Legos, and sophisticated vocabulary as the method for raising achievers.
The reason today was so busy is that I've been lost in a good book. It's one I've read at least twice before, Christy by Catherine Marshall. Anna Kate just finished it, and she also fell into it as though into a chasm. I knew how it ended and still I could not put it down. It's important to read old favorites again and again. As we grow up into Christ (the only way to grow up), words and truths land on us afresh.
The book is about a young woman who decides, on impulse, to teach school in Appalachia. The descriptions of poverty and filth are disturbing. I got to thinking about my soft clean bed, covered every week with freshly washed sheets (always white). I was reading late into the night, and the squalor of the mountain cabins seemed close. I could almost smell the pigs and sweat and unwashed hair, as I climbed into my perfect bed. My husband just bought a memory-foam topper, although I protested that we didn't need it and we should at the least wait for it to go on sale. But this memory foam, it is a wonder. My tired body, which aches all the time, falls into the mattress as if into a deep dream. It's so comfortable that I almost can't roll over. The aches and pains are going away.
I couldn't read Christy without thinking of the native people of Peru, living in jungle shacks, with pigs scraping under their floors. They sleep on pona, which is a springy bark, cut off the tree and unrolled. It splits easily. It's not comfortable, but it's the best they can do. They place it on platforms, and they sleep in family beds. Which is just how we're sleeping. I do often think of the Chayahuita people that I lived with as a child, and I pray for them to continue to grow in the Lord. I would like to visit those villages again. I would like to bring my children there, to the remote Amazon jungle of Peru, so they could see the best piece of my childhood.
It's a strange world we live in, with countries that are chock-full of dentists and excellent mattresses, and other countries where people can't imagine a dentist, or a soft clean bed, or running water. For all my days, I will feel bonded to that other world. It's not so far away. It's close enough to pray for, and close enough to carry in my heart. This planet is a cozy place, my friends.