“No, “ I said, to the little blond girl with a pouty red lip, my daughter.
I brushed her forearm with my fingertips, a wordless ‘ I love you.’
No doesn’t feel like love, when you’re five, when you’re forty-five,
But sometimes landing on your back, forced to look up at the stars in the dark, you begin to grasp No as the beginning of Yes.
Yes to More, not less–
More life, more joy
How do we begin to see the More in NO?
At three, this same daughter, my Little E, opened my eyes to More.
She’d just thrown her new Barbie car hood-over-bumper, down the narrow stairs, landing the doll-driver in a heap on the stoop.
“No!” I said. “That’s dangerous! The car might break mirrors-on-walls, break you, No!”
I handed E back the mangled pink car, and she perched, again, at the top of the stairs, the colors of her mind mulling over the No.
She leaned forward a bit, dangling the car over the cliff of the stair,
“E???” . . . .
“Don’t worry, Mommy,” said She. “I’m saying NO to myself.”
Saying ‘No’ to herself—at three? How can that be?
“Why?” said I.
She looked up at me, and shared the Yes she could see,
The way we soften and rest in the curve of his chest.
May the Lord smile down on you
and show you his kindness.
May the Lord answer your prayers
and give you peace.
Numbers 6: 25-26