Posted by: alegra22 | September 20, 2011


I stop rolling paint on the door and turn to Dan with my index finger raised like I’m pointing to something significant in the heavens. Day by day it has grown more painful and swollen. Tonight it has developed a little white pocket around the corner of the nail that doesn’t reassure me. I have my beliefs on its origins but they are dark and sinister and I’m afraid if I say them out loud they will manifest as reality, so instead I say, “Babe, I think there is something seriously wrong. Look at it. It’s pulsing.”
Dan squints, “Yeah, I’ve had those before. Usually from a piece of skin getting inflamed. It sucks but it’ll pass.”

He goes back to painting.

“No, this isn’t that. I’ve had that plenty of times. There was no skin thingy. This is different. I mean, look at it!”

Dan doesn’t look.

I drop my finger and wrap my arms around myself for emotional support. My finger feels like a small galaxy trying to stretch beyond its limits. Stars and black holes and planets ready to explode. I say it;  the dark, sinister thought:

“I think I contracted a flesh-eating bacteria while I was cleaning out the fish pond. I think it’s the fish trying to get revenge on me for killing them with good intentions. Before you know it I’ll be nothing but a pile of bones.”

Dan, “I’m sure you’re right. You did murder them.”

“It’s not funny.”

“Nope, it isn’t.”

He continues to paint.

“Stop using parenting techniques on me! I’m the one who read the book. I know the lines you’re using.”

“Yep, you’re probably right.”

I point my definitely-near-necrotic finger.

“Raniera James Clarke you’re lucky I’m nearly dead from this finger of mine.”

“Probably so.”

“This is serious! Look at it. It’s like the tip of my finger is developing a brain and it’s not a good brain.”

“I know, Zaviera. It’s terrrrrrrrrible.” He continues to paint.

This is the thing they don’t warn you about becoming parents. The infamous ‘they’ talk a lot about how it is the most difficult and rewarding job on the planet. Some of the ‘they’ roll their eyes and speak ominously about the times to come, but they never tell you that you’ll be parenting yourself and each other and that this is the landscape of the journey you can’t find on maps or in guide books.

As Dan and I discover our children, we discover ourselves.

I return to painting, the conversation turning to other matters and eventually into an off-tune serenade of my husband. Later that night, Joaquin nuzzles up to me and requests cuddles. I put aside my writing and open my arms. The rhythm of his breathing, the warmth of his small body, translate in my mind as an overlap between all that is human into something divine – in that space where Dan and I intersect and our children emerge, this is where we have created a daily window to God.



  1. “I know, Zaviera. It’s terrrrrrrrrible.”

    Okay, if I’m quoting a quote how many sets of quotation marks do I need? Seriously though, this had me laughing for a couple of minutes. I needed to wipe my eyes before I could read beyond that.

    Those skin thingies do grow brains, and bodies too! I had one shortly after having Logan and it took over half (1/4) of my thumbnail! I had to battle it with expired (sigh, who has time to read labels) neosporin and bandaid it for about a month. It did die off eventually and my flesh receded (it happened fairly quickly after I got new, unexpired neosporin) but it started off with the little white pocket. I say we women who have carried children know when there’s a new life trying to take over our bodies!

  2. I luff your husband. We have a very similar humor base…It’s funny cause I can picture Dan saying that to you in a “matter of face tone”. Funneeee.

    This, I feel, is what makes you two work AND adds to the flavor of being choice parents too. You are absolutely right. Each time these mini ‘events’ occur you so learn more and more about yourself. And even more positive you get closer to the big man!

    Realising that each one of these events are important makes you ‘special’. Not many people are as open as you to these insights. So you need to make sure you take all of this stuff on board. Which I know you have and I know you always will.

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