She says to me, as I’m sitting in our neighbor’s living room, “I saw Jonothan.” Mid-sentence, as I’m talking about cheese-cake I reply, “What?” Her hands fall onto her tiny hips and she tilts her two feet tall body, “I saw Jonothan.” I don’t know if I’m angry or if I’m about to cry. Quickly running through my mind are the possibilities that there is a neighbor boy with that name, or if we’ve run into anyone, and she’s only three years old and hasn’t started school yet so it couldn’t be classmate’s, and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with the very idea… deep breath… that she really could be talking about the son I gave up so many years ago.
Taking another deep breath I ask, “When did you see Jonothan, Samantha?”
She smiles and whispers low, “On Tuesday.”
The guitar is over ten years old and even with new batteries the noise it makes sounds stifled. But she plays it like Stevie Ray Vaughn on opening night to a sold out crowd. I watch her, as she watches herself in the reflection coming off the stove in our kitchen. She doesn’t notice me until I ask, “Are you going to be a famous guitar player Sam?”
She lifts the old, dirty guitar high into the air with a “Ohhhhh you got my heaaaart,” chorus, and then looking up at me beaming with confidence, “I will be famous. On Tuesday.”
Let’s get you dressed Sam, “I say, taking her hand and leading her to the door of her bedroom. I could hardly walk in; the floor was thick with mess.
“Sam! Your room is a mess!” She takes a visual inventory and says, “I’ll clean it Mommy. On Tuesday.”
I laugh and reply, “I don’t even think you have any clean clothes, Sam.” My three year old faces me and responds, “Mommy, you should not wait till Tuesday to do laundry.”
Her older brother watches the older boys at the skate park with envy in his eyes. He is begging and pleading with me to let him try it. He is so sweet, in his longing, but he is only five years old, “Bubba, we’ll come back when you get a little older, I promise.”
Lowering his head, his eyes begin to tear up. What an unfair world it must be to a little growing boy, and I instantly regret stopping at the skate park to watch the tricks on our way back to the car from the park. In the van, Brandin begins to cry harder. Just as I look into the rear-view mirror searching for my own words of comfort, Samantha leans over to her brother and holds his hands, “It’s okay Bubba … you CAN go! On Tuesday!”
Last night, as I cuddled in close to Samantha on her bed, we began to talk.
“Sam?” I ask.
She pulls her thumb from her lips, “What?” I smile and take in her sweet scent, touch her soft warm cheeks, “When is Tuesday?”
She thinks for a moment, rubbing the corner of her favorite pink blanket across the bridge in between her nose and upper lip, “In four days.”
Mentally I add the days from today, which is a Sunday, and I almost tell her that in four days it will be Thursday. But, I don’t. She is running her other hand up and down my arm, a calming motion as she slips into sleep. Her bright blue eyes are twinkling, and I wonder if Tuesday’s are just a symbol of things we hope for.
Just as she begins to fall away I kiss her sweet forehead and whisper, “I love you Sam … even more than Tuesday’s.”
Thinking she is asleep I crawl slowly from her bed. Pausing at her door to look once more at my peaceful baby daughter, I hear her whisper with her eyes closed, “I love you Mommy. On Sunday.”
What is your child’s “On Tuesday” moment?