Monday, December 15, 2008

The base ridge

Five-year-old Anson showed me his thumb as soon as we arrived last Thursday. “Grandma, look at this!” At first I thought it had been painted purple. But he’s too boy to let anyone near him with nail polish. Gender roles are very distinctly defined in his mind. It had been slammed in the bathroom door at preschool and was healed enough so he could lift the nail all the way up like a hinged flap. I shuddered and almost gagged. He smiled and yanked it all the way off. “It’s pokin’ me,” he declared, meaning it was getting hung up in his hockey gloves when he tried to pull them on. He showed the dead nail to his dad hoping for some kind of reward like maybe a thumbnail fairy would show up if he put it under his pillow.

Turning sixty-one is something like getting slammed in the bathroom door. It surprises you, and sometimes it hurts a little. People feel sorry for you. They send sympathy and love. And friends make you supper of easily chewed foods. Thankfully I have no body parts to put under my pillow, but sometimes my brain flaps around, unhinged, searching for right words more often than it used to. I can swing certain body…okay, arm parts that were once taut and hard, especially those triceps. I remember watching my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Griggs, write on the blackboard, her underarms flapping, and I swore mine would never look like that. The young are just that, young. Unknowing. Unable to think past their stomachs hoping to make it to lunch in twenty minutes if the history lesson would only end.

Anson’s thumb is now tender and vulnerable, but from the root a new one is already growing. It’s awfully small, just a ridge at the base. But it’s coming. It’ll be okay. In a few months he’ll have a new one altogether.

As I scope out the years to come, I see I’ve got a ridge at the base, too. I have to cup it in my hands sometimes and blow on it, in order to see it, in order to keep it going. But it’s there. Waiting to spring up. It won’t be going away even if the surface turns a little discolored. I read some of David’s words this morning. “…consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”

I love the superlatives here: FOEVER AND EVER. Denis and I have an ongoing discussion about the use of superlatives, which I’m not allowed when complaining. Like: They ALWAYS. You NEVER, EVER. Etc. But God gets to make exceptions to the rule. Yes. Against all odds, heaven awaits along with new bodies. My base ridges belong to God forever and ever.


jenni said...

This is so wise and beautifully-written, Margie ~ thank you. And happy birthday again. :)

Alina said...