hangin’ onto coffeecake crumbs…

by bam

some weeks all it takes is a grocery store coffeecake, under a clear plastic dome, slapped with a bright orange sticker; its price slashed in half.

some weeks when you are a mama, or any plain tired old soul, when you’ve been through the wringer, feel ready to fall, wish like anything for arms to fall into–even the arms of your favorite old chair–some weeks all it takes is a stroll past a plastic-domed cake.

to feel your heart wobble a little.

to think, that’s the thing.

i’ll carry it home.

plop it down on the table.

make like i’m paying attention. making home feel a little like home.

instead of the wasp’s nest. or the hurricane. that it’s felt like all week.

for 16 years now–come monday, that is, when my firstborn strides round that big 16 bend–i’ve made it my job, my no. 1 job, to try to make certain that here in our house there’s a wrapper of love.

i remember the moment, clear as could be, that i saw in my head the picture of this brand of love, the one i would traffic in, once my firstborn was born.

a clear-walled bubble it was, unpunctured. no beginning or end. all-encompassing. a shield that would keep out the bad, and seal in only the good.

oh, it bobbled at first, that bubble of love. took a stumble or two, back in the early few weeks.

where is the room, i kept gasping and asking myself, for breathing and eating and thinking whole thoughts, here with a babe in your arms, with a heart that is suddenly, utterly, yours to protect?

right off, my instincts went deep, didn’t swerve or look back. fact was, i’d never felt love quite like this love.

like falling it was. like i wouldn’t ever let up, let a crevice or crack of darkness seep in.

my love would be fierce, would be always. my heart and my arms would be harbor. in time, so would the walls of my home.

over the years, as i’ve said here before, i chiseled my own solid gospel of everyday grace, of the comfort and beauty that is mine to bring through the door. to set on the table. to tuck under the sheets. to stash in the drawers.

oh, but these last few weeks, i’ve felt i could hardly keep up. could barely patch together a semblance of peace, or of calm. or dinner at six.

so i, like a swimmer out there where the water’s too deep, i keep grasping. for lifelines and buoys.

and plastic-domed cakes.

i’ve run out of words, out of steam, too often of late. it’s all i can do, some sorry late nights, to chase my sweet little boy straight up the stairs, to tuck him in bed, and race through the prayers, and let out a sigh as i pull shut his door.

and feel rather sad that i’ve not done it all better, this rare grasp of life with a child of seven. and one who’s nearly 16.

so the crumb of the coffee cake, there on the grocery store shelf, at the end of a very long week, it whispered to me, offered a promise of lifting the day to a richer beginning.

it might make a friday different from thursday. offer a break from the cornflakes and milk, of monday till now.

it’s all i could do, that cake for $2.49. to tell the boys that i love that i’m not giving up. i’ll not forsake all my vows, my promise made long, long ago.

i’ll be the shield and the light. i’ll sew stitches of grace. scatter dewdrops of beauty.

i’ll leave coffeecake crumbs in my trail.

long as they lead us all home, to here where our hearts thump the most loudly.

question: what brand of love did you set out to spread in the world? do you think much about it, or just simply live it? who taught you loving, or was it born straight from your heart, or from heaven itself?
do you ever resort to shortcuts, or secret morse codes, to spell out your love, when words and hours run short?