This morning Jonah told his dad, “You will live the difference.”
I don’t know the backstory. Odds are, there wasn’t much of one. I can’t tell you what he means, though I might later in the day, after it sits with me for awhile. That’s what happened Sunday sometime later after he said “I love you so much as cookies!” (That was what we wrote in a card to his grandparents.) It sounded like he was being goofy for no good reason except to be goofy because I asked him a question he really didn’t want to answer. He does that. Call it avoidance if you want. Sometimes I think it’s just his way of saying, Are you really serious?
In print, “I love you so much as cookies” is pretty straightforward. He loves cookies. And he loves his grandparents. Equating the two isn’t so strange to a boy of literal mind. At the time he said it, I didn’t understand. Probably because of the way I heard it, which was something like “I love you so much” with “as cookies” tagged on the end. It follows that what I consider unusual has just as much to do with me as it does Jonah.
When I hear “You will live the difference,” when I see pictures like this:
I want to believe Jonah. I want to live the difference like he does—unaffected, uninhibited, and unencumbered. Pretty darn close to pure joy, which doesn’t mean not sad sometimes, or angry, or tired. But out there. Doing it.
[Editor’s note: I found out later that Jonah was responding to John saying how tired he was. John added that Jonah spoke quite sympathetically, trying to encourage him, but that he also wanted him to get his butt downstairs for breakfast.]