two is one and one is none

This morning Evan crawled into my bed gently, a tiptoe instead of a running leap. He lifted the blankets, crawled in, scooched over, and kissed me on the cheek.

"I love you, mommy. I brought you breakfast. And I brought your robe."

A banana under my chin, my grandfather's 1964 curling sweater draped overtop. I thanked him and he put his feet between my thighs because thighs are warm and feet are footsicles.

"You're so blue this morning, Evan. You're teal and turquoise and proud like a robin's egg. You're all soft and calm and I can see it. You did it."

He smiled at me.

"I did."

+++

Rewind a day or two. Evan was mad again. He couldn't draw a camel. I CAN'T. He ripped it in half and collapsed on the couch, sobbing.

He's hungry and tired and six, said my brain. I've ruined him, said my other brain, the stupid one.

I stared at him for a while, hesitating. Ignore? Give his head a ruff on the way by and make supper? Tickle? Or talk about it at the risk of making it into A Thing?

I don't like to cultivate Things. I prefer shrugging, head-ruffling, and benign neglect. Either that or a spell.

Baby boy. You know when you're mad or sad or frustrated? When you rip things up or yell at somebody or slam a door or cry? Are you listening to me, Evan? Listen. Look at me. When you feel that way, there's a ball of red energy right there in your chest, under your skin, inside your ribs, on top of your lungs and all stuck up in your throat. It's red, a bad red. It grows and grows and makes you sick and sad. You need to learn how to let all that red go, love. Want to know how? You breathe it out. Breathe it out and see it all start to seep out of your mouth and your nose and your ears and your toes, and it goes up like a cloud and the breeze takes it away. You can see it, if you look the right way. And then here's what you do next. You think, as quick as you can, about the best things. Lego and hockey and macaroni and cheese with hot biscuits and Santa Claus and the skate park quick like 1-2-3-4-5. And then you'll feel something different filling up all that new space. A ball of blue energy. Blueish-green...

Evan interrupted. Turquoise?

Yes. That's the energy ball that cools you down and makes you calm, and it helps things to grow healthy and good. You can make that blue energy ball whenever you like, Evan, as long as you know the trick to it. There are lots of people who don't know the trick to it and they walk around all day long with their red energy ball getting bigger and bigger and then it'll be in there so deep it'll never get out and they won't ever be able to feel that nice cool blue, not ever. They'll just sadder and sadder and sadder until they forget what it feels like to be turquoise on the inside.

He asked me if I was telling the truth. I said yes and meant it.

Red to blue. Red to blue. I can do it. So can you.