It was day two of the journey home, and I missed Miriam. On the way to Yerushalayim for the Feast of the Passover our families had walked together, her friendship a welcome comfort on the dry, dusty road. But Yosef, her husband, had been eager to get back home to Nazerat, and my little ones were moving more slowly each day. “Go on ahead,” I’d finally told Miriam, midmorning on the first day after the Feast. “I’ll bring Yeshua back when we get to Nazarat. Or whenever I run out of food.”
Miriam had laughed. Her eldest son, Yeshua, was my eldest son David’s constant companion. The boys were inseparable, so much so that when I looked at my family I either saw three children, or five. If Yeshua wasn’t around, neither was David.
One, two, three, four, five, I counted in silent rhythm as we walked, one, two, three, four, five. Five children. All present, all accounted for.
I paused for a moment on the dusty trail. Thoughts of Miriam slipped from my mind as I realized my feet were tired, my arms sore, and my overnursed breasts like smoldering coals beneath my dusty robe. One, two, three, four, five, I counted again. One, two, three, four, five.
I arched my back, shifted my daughter’s weight from one hip to the other. But as I moved her she awoke, instantly hungry, and began frantically searching for my breast. I sighed and called to my husband.
“Ba’al, we need to stop. Zahara needs to feed again.”
He looked at me. “Why can’t you just feed her as we walk?”
I closed my eyes and counted four breaths before I answered. It was useless getting angry with him, he’d never nursed a baby. He couldn’t understand. Once again, I missed Miriam.
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