Saturday, October 13, 2018

more on the invisible line...

On crossing that invisible line,

Sometimes, when I look at them, I get glimpses of the adults they may someday be. These days, it’s happening more often, and it takes my breath away. This child I taught how to walk, how can he handle a basketball like that? That motherly smile on my daughter’s face- is that really the same face that she’d cover in pureed bananas, the same mouth that would scream when I tried to clean her with a wash rag?  The arm of my son-- the same one that hung around my neck while he wiped boogers on my shirt-- he stretches out protectively in front of me in the parking lot, reminding ME to watch for cars.

Christmas 2011
My son is wearing a tie tonight, and he's up on the highest riser. This child, who is uncomfortable in large crowds, who spent our first year at this church hiding behind my leg; he is determined, serious. I don't know if he sees me, but it's almost time for him to take the microphone. He reads, clearly, confidently, and the moment is over. But the second he finishes, he looks right at me, and he sees my proud smile. He gives a subtle nod, receiving my message, and gives his shoes a tiny, satisfied smile. And I am suddenly overwhelmed with joy, with the privilege of being the one he looks for, the one whose approval goes right down into his heart and makes him smile like that.

Advent 2017
He plays in church today, for the offering, and he acolytes, too. He has practiced; he remembered his music; he prepared himself without one reminder from me. His moment comes, and he plays well. He keeps his head down during the song, he stays focused. I am proud of him, as always, and I smile loudly. And when he’s done, he gets up, grabs his book, and he doesn’t look at me.

He doesn’t look at me.

A few days later, I happened outside, and there he is, using the snowblower for the first time. He returns my look of surprise with a proud smile, and continues, confident in his work. His snow pants reek of fumes when I find them later, balled up on the floor. Play clothes turn to work clothes, and boys become young men. 

March 2018
I get the text while I’m making lunch: “My baby has died.” My dear friend, 20 weeks pregnant, oh God please no…  I’m crying over the mac n’ cheese, and my son comes in, asks what’s wrong. I just hand him my phone; I cannot speak. Later, kids are at the table for food and I have to tell them but I can barely form the words. And my son says, “Mom, do you want me to pray?” I nod, and the tears stream while he says the words, the exact words we need in that moment.

On this side of that invisible line, it’s hard, and unfamiliar, and  more beautiful than I expected.
My plants still need to be watered and fed, but sometimes, I rest in their shade.

Image may contain: tree, plant, grass, sky, outdoor and nature

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