Look away.

Look! It's a whole bunch of women waiting for the lady's car on a train on Mumbai's local railway.

Interesting, right? It's even more amazing in person. That's one group of styley ladies, on their way to work.

Let's see... what else can we talk about? Because I don't really want to talk about me, today. My insides are all crumpled up, like soggy paper.

During school YaYa (didn't learn) learned about number lines, and while she was frustrated, trying to figure out the concept of negative numbers, I was frustrated with my own number line of negative grace and peace. I was a little too far to the right with anger and resentment. Way over into the double digits with stress.

Number line, shmumber line.

(I guess we're talking about it. My attempt at distraction was only make believe, I really do want to talk about it. You pull it right out of me.)

I said stupid things to my husband today. He's really just such a nice person. He doesn't deserve my toxic overflow. I was needy, and mean, and maybe even carcinogenic. I was definitely irrational. It's nothing crazy, just a build up of stress that culminated in discovering that a part I bought for the garden hose was gone, and you have NO idea how much time I have put into getting that hose properly adjusted to the pump on our well, and how many hoses I have bought that have broken IMMEDIATELY and the times I have come back after monsoon and people have chopped the hose into different parts because they needed it for something or other, and can't just ONE thing stay the way I put it?

Zero to sixty in no time at all. Which made Chinua try to convince me that I was overreacting, and you know how that goes, don't you?

There are deep things going on inside about home and moving and staying and things and working and neighbors and cultures. It's not about a garden hose, it's never about the garden hose, is it.

Everyone was dragging and emotional today. At the end of the afternoon, when the air was thick and heavy with heat, YaYa started melting down over this and that. She was difficult all day, not usual for her. But she clambered right onto my lap like a really little girl, and she sobbed into my neck, and we were both sweating and sticky, and I relaxed right into her need for attention, her need for someone to look after her and tell her it will be okay. To simply hold her while she's irrational, while she's not pulling it together. To kiss her sweaty, tear stained cheeks, the dust from the day that makes muddy marks under her eyes. To say, "Think about how wonderful it will be to go to bed early, and just drift off to sleep..."

She resisted being comforted, because she didn't know how to be comforted. She needed to hit bottom, and she needed to have someone love her while she did. And I was there.

And as I was holding my daughter I realized I was telling all of the same things to myself, all the things I needed to hear. All the mothering I needed. And the amazing thing is that the very act of caring seems to be self-healing. As I sat and smoothed her hair back off her forehead, I felt as though someone was doing it for me. I felt some of the compassion I was holding out so freely, flowing toward myself.

It's something I believe about being a parent. I see our love as parents growing and spilling over (in the same way that toxicity can when you aren't careful) and it reaches all the kids, and the neighbors and it even comes back and spills into your own poor heart. Because that kind of love, the kind that causes you to allow a wailing, too-large child to cling to you in the heat only confirms the kind of love that God has for you. This parenting thing has so many more benefits than I even knew were possible.

(In the same way that God's love leads us to love others, our love for others teaches us about God's love. What a marvelous circle.)

So, never mind. You don't have to look away. Because I had a bad day, and I was mean, and I was about as peaceful as a cobra's nest, but I am loved and it is written all over me.