Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tigers and Fleas

I set the needles, scissors and red thread beside me. It's ironic that I grabbed red. It will be like blood I guess. Positioning the stuffed tiger before me I poke around to find the tear. It's time for tiger surgery. 
CJ sweetly asked me two nights before if I would fix it for him. Just after dinner, when he came to give me a random hug. Curls framing his face in his to-school hair cut. You see it's not 'back' yet because this is his first year. 
It, ironically, was also his first haircut. He even gets a 'baby's first hair cut certificate.' I have to wonder if the stylist was being a smart ass. Of if she is just pragmatic. It was after all, his first haircut. And he is after all, my baby.
The stuffed tiger had been sitting by my bed for months, maybe even a year. Neglected. Torn. Surely this year will be over soon, I guess that's what I was thinking. But here it is another year and so it begins again. More nights. More sleepless days as my body wakes me completely confused about why I'm trying to sleep when it's not time to sleep. 
I won't tell him, my baby, that I agreed to more nights to try and make the schedule slightly better. To be there in the mornings for him. To help with this transition to school. He wouldn't understand it anyway. I don't understand it anyway. 
Except that firsts always come, and heavens if it doesn't seem like more of them come at the end of summer than any other time of year. But when you are experiencing the firsts through their eyes, it changes. For me it's a fierce sort of experience that seems to manifest itself as a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach. What if he gets bullied? What if he bullies? What if I never make it back to days and have to figure out this awkward rhythm all over again each week?
So I read about the Holocaust. You know, real tragedy. Not more night shift work and starting kindergarten. It settles me in this haunting way. Corrie Ten Boom once thanked God for fleas. Because they crawled all over them, keeping the guards from crawling all over them. Fleas. 
Lack of sleep is my fleas. But heavens if I haven't a clue what harm I'm being kept from. Maybe I should just trust that it's something and that I'm where I'm supposed to be for now. 
That next week, when I walk through the door not too late this time but on time to see him off to school, it will be worth it. He might not understand the flea-size sacrifice I'm making, but when I'm there to hug him off to a new thing it will be worth it anyway. 
CJ walks by to go to the bathroom and grins as he sees the tiger sitting by me. When he returns from the bathroom he pauses to inspect the work and a grin spreads across his face. 
"Are there any other tears son?" 
"Nope, you fixed it!" He chirps happily. I watch as he trots off to bed. It will not always take just some simple red thread to fix things for him. Just like, eventually at the very least when I retire I will get to go back a regular schedule. These are flea-sized problems and there might just be a Nazi-guard-sized reason for them. So I will be thankful.
Oh, and my church is starting a night service this fall. So. There's that. 
Flea-sized blessings every day folks, every single day. 

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