"Come look, Mom!" Isaiah yells. I hear the porch door slam shut. I hear the fast pound of small feet. In two seconds flat my boy is through the house and standing beside me.
I look up from my keyboard.
Isaiah's eyes are wide and he's wearing the grin that tugs every thread of my heart.
"They're poking through. Monster fingers are here!"
Zay reaches for my hand and then I'm fast on his heels. We're through the kitchen. Out the porch door. We're standing on the patio near the walk where soon a stretch of hostas will grow.
"Look close," Isaiah says. He's crouched over, in that little-boy way, with his back curled round and his feet planted firm and his head dipped low. His small finders are rooting through winter-gray mulch. They're ferreting through loose soil and dead leaves and the washed-out remains of the glory of fall.
I stand and watch. Not far from where he's poking is a stepping stone made long ago by an older son. His then-small hand print is captured in cement. His hand fit into mine back then. I could meet his needs and care for his heart and his life was an open door to mine.
"Here they are," Zay says. "Now come here and look."
I bend and peer at the ground. Sure enough, there's purple life pushing through. The hosta sprouts are small and sharp. And they do, in fact, look like monster fingers. Like monster fingers pushing up straight through.
"There's more," Isaiah says. He's on his feet now. He's a bolt of energy and a whir of motion and he's pressing through another mound of earth.
"Monster fingers," he says. "They're starting to grow."
I watch my boy. His delight in this sign of spring is strong. Isaiah continues this this quest and I think of my teenage, struggling son.
There are signs of hope there, too. They seem small. But if I I look hard, if I push away the gray of sadness and the dark of hard choices and the heavy covering of hurt, the hope is there. Pushing through. Like monster fingers in the ground.
There is hope in the Lord. What has been buried, asleep, can press through the darkness with life that is fresh.
Zay pokes around in the dirt for a bit longer. Then he's off to join the other boys. Baseball season is near. Bats and balls and gloves are hauled from the garage.
But I stand for a moment and look at that sweet, small hand print in stone. And the new growth that is sprouting up alongside.
And I walk away with thoughts of hope.