The thunder seemed to circle around us in the early morning gray, booming and rattling the pictures on our walls. Isaac and Baby Isaiah came to our room. Isaiah has a big-boy bed now, but his favorite bed remains whatever bed Isaac happens to be sleeping in. Apparently the thunder frightened him into his brother’s bed, and more thunder made him finally overwhelm his diaper. Isaiah was soaked. So was poor Isaac. And so was poor Isaac’s bed. We carried them back to their room and cleaned them up and deposited them both in Isaiah’s little-used bed.
Isaac smiled; it was becoming like an adventure. Isaiah lifted himself from his pillow just to be extra sure his big brother was staying in the bed with him, then flopped down. He likes to sleep with most of his body on the pillow, his legs tucked up underneath so that he looks like a snail. Isaac likes to sleep on his back with arms and legs thrust out like a starfish.
We left them that way, snail and starfish keeping each other safe. We went back to bed and I pulled Wife extra close to me. I need her extra close. We listened to the booming and then the sheets of rain. We talked about hard things. I wished I could pull her into my skin, so that there would never ever again be anything that could come between us. This is why you have to hold your beloved close, so that nothing divides you, and because sometimes it feels like your heart won’t beat right unless the gentle thunder of her heart’s rhythm finds its way through your flesh.
Eventually the two littlest boys found their way back to our room, as they always do. They toddled over to our window looking out over the trees and creek, and stood close to one another, silent, watching the storm. I hope they will always be that way, close and not self-conscious about it, and that one day each of my sons will have a good, true, strong-hearted woman to hold close when the storm circles, as it always does, as it always does.
And I hope my sons will hold their wives tight when there is no storm, because there is always danger, even on the brightest days, and all we have in the end are our prayers and our lives pressed close. I hope they will know this, that I can teach them this one thing, that you have to lay down everything you were and are and hope to be, because the only things worth having are the things you can make with her, the life you can live with her. The rest of it is just air and glimmer, thunder and lightning. If they can learn this one thing, have it written on their courageous hearts, then maybe everything I have done and been will be worth something after all.