I sit on the floor
and the baby comes close to me;
his hands pat my shoulder,
my back; he says,
“gentle, gentle.”

We are practicing
“no hitting” these days.

We are also practicing
“no whining”
“no screeching”
“no fighting.”

It is difficult to be
each other’s practice boards,
to be the place where someone else learns
how to love, how not to love,
how to apologize, how to forgive.

We all have to practice.
It is one of the things that makes family life
and on the days we finally learn “gentle,”
it makes life miraculous.

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