My Favorite Ages

I love the ages three and four. 

Exploring.  Conversing.  Recalling.  Questioning.  Discovering.  Laughing.  Innocently loving.

Tonight on the way home from church we stopped by the cemetery to light a candle for Shawn.  Jordan walked up to his dad’s grave and said, "I love you, Dad.  Thanks for loving us, Dad" and blew a kiss at the cross that stands behind the marker.

Back in the car, Jordan asked me, “Mom, how did I get my name?”

“Your dad and I gave you your name,” I told him.

“How did you and dad give me my name?” he asked.  “Did you put it in my throat?  And then I opened my mouth and said to you, ‘I’m Jordan!’”

Amused, I nodded as if to say that could be a possibility.

“Or was it on a rock?” he continued.  “Or did you write my name on a paper?  Was it on a note?  You wrote it down and I ate it?  And then I told you, ‘I’m Jordan!’”

This time I laughed a little out loud.

“What did you want your name to be?” Jordan asked me.

“Jennifer,” I said. 

That seemed enough to satisfy him to start a new topic.

“Hey, Mom!  I have a sliver in my thumb from the park.  Is it like the sliver in the moon?” he asked.  He loves to figure out words.

I looked down to see the red fuel light taunting me from the dashboard.  One more chore before the night was done.  I took the nearest exit, the one right before our turn for home and pulled up to the far left pump.  Jordan asked me not to open my door right away as he wanted to finish talking.  Elated that I respected his wish, he told me, “Good job, Mom!  You’re a good listener!”

His mind is intricate and thoughtful.  He is observant—a thinker.  Like this afternoon when he asked if I would make his favorite lunch, ska-betty (spaghetti).  I think this is the only word I’ve heard him mispronounce.  He then told me, “if you want to say ska-betty in Spanish it’s called, ska-betta.” 

Sign this clever child up to work for the United Nations.

Maddi has her own chatty, witty ways.  Waiting for the floor, she took her turn with an announcement.

“You know what guys?  You know what Mommy and Jo-dan? You know what?
Guys?  You know what Jo-dan?  You know what, Mommy?” she asked us back
and forth.

Both Jordan and I know that the tennis ball volley of questions won’t
end until one of us asks her “what.” We both obliged tonight.

Once given the appropriate sign of encouragement to continue, Maddi’s
introduction was followed by a minimum of ten “um’s” each increasing in
decibel and excitement.  This was going to be worth the wait!  Maddi
delivered a detailed story about her baby doll and what she likes to
eat, ending her conversation with, “And that’s my story!” With her punch line given, she began to giggle for our approval. 

Again, I found myself smiling.

Maddi is full of exuberance.  I have had more than one person tell me I need to find a way to bottle up her enthusiasm.  If not to sell, at least to share.  But, Maddi does a good job of sharing it on her own. 

My favorite part of the drive home was hearing my children recite by
heart their bedtime prayers.  They didn’t want any help from me.  So, I did what I continually need to practice doing more.  I listened.  And I as listened, I realized that I am in
love with their ages.  I am pleased by their abilities.  Pleased that they pray.  It made me feel like
I am doing something right.  At times in the thick of grief, I
question my own abilities as a mom. Tonight was my night off from questioning. 

Maddi ended the car ride with a little tune—singing over and over,
“Glory.  Glory to a God.  Glory.  Glory to a God.”  It didn’t take me
long to realize she was mimicking one of the Mass parts with just a
slightly different adaptation.

I could listen to her sing for hours.  She is confident and tender.  Loving and learning.  Yes, these are my favorite ages.  At least for now.  At least for this night.

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