I really like my husband. Good thing, right? But really. There are so many things I like about him, especially (and selfishly) if they benefit me. One of my very favorite things about him is that he requires very little sleep. That man can function on less sleep than anyone I know, and it’s a good thing because when God made me, he made my sleep tank extra large. It’s a very good thing because we breed children who don’t value sleep very much. Three of them. There are few things I value more in this life than sleep. Being married to a not-sleep-needer means that I do very little middle of the night duty with the boys. Thirsty? Daddy’s on it. Kicked off your covers? Daddy to the rescue. I used to feel guilty about it, but then I stopped for two reasons: 1. I’m a much nicer Mom during the day if I sleep at night. 2. I had to birth them.
Porter is also a very early riser. He wakes up at an hour in which I couldn’t even tell you my own name. This means he lets me sleep in a bit, and since I’m a very slow waker he also delivers coffee to me in bed every morning. This ritual has been ours for over eight years.
They say a baby changes everything, but one thing you can’t let them change is your coffee ritual. Momma doesn’t get out of bed until she’s had her first cup of coffee. It’s a deeply cherished rule in our house.
So, every morning I hear the slight clink of a coffee cup on my bedside table, followed by a good morning kiss on the forehead. It’s a lovely way to wake up because within 2 seconds there are two boys jumping on me with good morning kisses, hugs, and a few unintentional knee jabs to my ribs, a baby fussing to be nursed and yanking my top down to make his intentions known, and a very needy cat trying to get between me and whichever child is occupying most of my space.
But there’s coffee.
A few days ago my beloved ritual was broken. I heard a twist of the doorknob and then a face millimeters from mine. My eyes slowly opened to see Jet, our four year old, standing by my bed whispering Momma, guess WHAT! I can DRIBBLE!
Hunny, that’s wonderful! Show me!
He drops his basketball and begins dribbling. I see him there, so confident and proud, so full of joy in his accomplishment.
Suddenly I’m back in my elementary school gym, a place which could also be named Hell On Earth, and I’m learning how to dribble a basketball. Actually, I’m not learning how to dribble. In fact, I’m doing such a good job at not learning how to dribble that my P.E. teacher took the basketball away from me and replaced it with a very large beach ball.
A beach ball.
Maybe this will help you get the hang of it, my P.E. teacher says.
There I am in the corner of the gym slapping a beach ball two times my size up and down on the floor while all the other kids are perfectly dribbling their basketballs up and down the court.
I wish this story had a happy ending, maybe some kid coming over to lovingly dribble the beach ball with me, but it doesn’t. In fact, the next day and the next and the next and the next when I showed up to gym, right next to the basketball cart was the huge beach ball waiting for me. All the other kids lined up to get their basketballs while I walked over to my station in the corner with my beach ball.
I survived basketball season, and while I have enough embarrassing sports stories to write a full-length memoir, I’ll spare you for now.
But now, standing in front of me is my four year old son who whispered me awake, dribbling a basketball, and I see a moment of redemption.
Sometimes redemption comes with a loud clang. Sometimes it comes late. Sometimes it’s deferred. Sometimes it’s just a whisper.
The truth is, I never felt like this memory needed redemption. My beach ball dribbling wasn’t a defining moment of my childhood, it didn’t scar me. In fact, it’s much more traumatic for Porter to hear than it is for me to tell. When I see beach balls and retell the story, he gets kind of panicky and frantic and says things like you have to stop, I can’t hear it again, it’s too sad.
I actually think it’s kind of funny.
But as I watch Jet dribble, I accept the whisper of redemption anyway. This moment might not have needed redemption, but a lot of things do. Sometimes the whispers of redemption can shake us out of our ordinary routines and give us hope for the big things.
And while we wait, there’s always coffee.