I love – seriously, love – those moments when I SEE my children and marvel at them for a bit.
You know what I mean, don’t you?
Most of our days are spent doing what families do, and my mind is just on autopilot and I love and hug and kiss my kids without dwelling on or digesting the emotions that I feel for them.
But then some days, I see them. My mind, even for a matter of minutes, belongs to them. I meditate on them, and who they are, and how God made them, and my heart consequently sings with gratitude and praise.
I don’t know if you can plan clarity like that, or if it just a gift of grace that lands unexpectedly in your lap; regardless, I’m a pretty big fan.
It happened to me just yesterday.
Gid and Rebekah were upstairs playing (they’ve been thick as thieves lately), and it was just me and Betsie on the first floor.
She toddled over to where I sat in our large wingback chair and, resting her chin on my knee, peered up at me through her ever-scraggly bangs. Her hair has good intentions right after bathtime and curls so lovelylike all over her head, but then her orneriness eventually comes eeking back out and takes her curls and her neatness right out of her system, leaving a wild ‘do that actually suits her perfectly.
“I love your face.” I said to her, in my mind.
“Boo’?” she asked me.
“Yes, I’ll read you a book!” I answered, glad to feel free for the moment to do that very thing.
I watched her toddle resolutely through the living room and to the office/schoolroom, stopping in front of the iron and wood bookshelf that holds most of our children’s collection of books. She squatted down into her typical aborigine pose and began rifling through the Little Golden Books that are stored in a basket under the lowest rack of the bookshelf.
I enjoyed two things about this moment:
1. She was enjoying the very books that I laid out for her in a spot that was accessible to her; it is just kind of fulfilling to see your children living in their own house, in the way you intended for them to live. “I put those there for you!” I thought to myself, happy, for the moment, to be a homemaker, and
2. I still consider Betsie my eternal baby – something about the way she moves and speaks and acts is so…baby…but I had to admire her pluck and maturity as she flipped through the scads of books to find the ones she wanted. Not just any book would suit her fancy, and this surprised me. Even Baby Betsie’s grow up, I suppose.
You may or may not care, but her book selections were almost all centered around farm life and/or dogs. “How interesting…” I thought, “Baby Betsie is a fan of farms! I had no idea.”
Anyhow, she would find the perfect book, stand quickly back up, pitter-patter back to where I was sitting in my chair, hold her arms up to be brought into my lap, and, once situated, would gesture for the covers next to us. I would cover us both up, and set in to “read” (a.k.a condense…some of those Little Golden Books are loooong. I’m looking at you “Poky Little Puppy”), and I was so delighted by her frequent interjections. I would say the animal’s names and she would make whatever noises she decided they made, and although she did well for most of the animals, “mooing” for the cows and “oinking” for the pigs, she tapered off near the end, giving a “chick chick” for the chicks and a “duck duck” for the ducks.
You know, typical precious/hilarious baby stuff that just cracks us Mamas up while our friends and family humor us with sympathy smiles and laughs.
But I swear, it was hilarious. And utterly precious. Don’t you think so, too? I knew you did.
But the best thing is, while the world whirled on outside of our walls with all of its business and entertainment and who-knows-what, Betsie and I were sitting still in a chair in our living room, and our were hearts bonding and, for that sweet half hour in the uninterrupted quiet of our home, our life was as perfect as it could be…
I saw her.
And I can’t be sure, but…I think she saw me, too.