He's the first one up, "Cereal Daddy, I want Cereal!" and I nod, none too happy, "In a minute son, when your sisters get up."
So he gets them up.
I had a houseful of sick kids this weekend, some fever-and-stomach-cramps thing that started with Zeke and then moved briskly though the brood. The girls lolled around and complained but Zeke was Zeke, smiling and playing, tossed his cookies and he was done with it. The girls were not about breakfast at all but there was Zeke, "Cereal Daddy, Cereal."
After the girls collapsed in my bed (I'll be sleeping in one of their beds tonight, I guess), Zeke was left up, still a full head of steam, still smiling. I was surfing the net and listening to Frank Zappa's "Hot Rats", one of Zappa's jazzier works while Zeke stood against the couch, rocking and swaying to the music. As soon as "The Gumbo Variations" came to its thundering conclusion, Zeke shouted "Awesome!"
Don't know if he's a jazz fan or a Zappa fan (I tend to think the former) but he's a fan of the here and now, that's for certain. He's a fan of life and all it has to offer.
Zeke's the baby but he rarely weilds that as a weapon, he's too good-natured for that. His place in the sibling hierarchy is no concern to him, he expects no deferrence or privileges, he's just happy to be who he is. He's the smiling-est damn kid I've ever seen; even his serious face has a smile. The only real question in life should be how to get what he's got.
The other day Marni asked me to write something for her, much in the way Lilly asks me to write things for her. "Write, 'Marni is seeing the the cars above the sky'" she said, serious, watching me closely at every letter I inscribed. Marni is much more like me, intent, serious, abstract. Not Zeke. He's matter-of-fact, fully participating in the moment, the embodiment of "suchness". If he sees "cars above the sky", he's not consumed so much by the mystery of that as much as he likes cars and cars anywhere suits him.
Zeke, my Zen son, my little Buddha bouncing around the room in complete bliss and spreading that light wherever he goes. I'm surprised no monks have shown up at my doorstep to revere the reincarnation of the venerable Lama whatever. Not that Zeke would mind. He'd roll his little fingers forward and hide his face behind his wrists, blushing, smiling, wondering what kind of car the monks arrived in. Knowing that, about the car, he'd really light up.
"Cereal Daddy, Cereal," isn't really a demand, a statement of desire, it's merely recognizing the condition. While my daughters whine and cajole, Zeke says what's what, he's got the what-what and that's that. Put golf tees in a bowl and pour milk on them and he'll make the most of it. Zeke's just glad that it is what it is.
And that's all we need to know.