Long day yesterday. Taught an early class and a late class and did beaucoup grading in between. I was crawling the walls of my office, not a glimmer of natural light could find its way through the brick.
The highpoint in my day was getting to meet Baby Girl for swim lessons. That moment when she's racing into the gym, brimming with all the happenings of the school day and all the excitement of getting to change for the pool plunge--I wanted to drink her in.
After swim lessons, I got to hug and kiss my Little Man, but then I had to leave again, to go back to work again, and there weren't enough hugs and kisses to make that departure okay.
The cherubs were long asleep by the time I got home. Their little paintbrush eyelashes at rest, dreaming about summer and popsicles and bike rides.
I stayed up folding laundry and as my hands pawed a T-shirt of Little Man's my heart started to hurt. Touching his shirts rather than holding the real thing. It was hard to swallow.
I felt heavy, and then I felt glad. Glad for the experience of getting to teach and have a career, but also for the soul-hunger because of not being able to see my children as much.
This is surely the cry of every parent who works outside the home--not ever getting to see our children enough.
But this is also no doubt the cry of every parent. Because we all so much want to see more of our children.
Sometimes our eyesight is poor, you see. Sometimes we can't see our children because our focus is off. We see the toy-laden mess on the carpet, 5 and 37 Legos on the floor. We see sprinkles on the toilet seat, marinara handprints on pants. We don't see the shy but present need for affirmation. We just see the scattered remains of Hurricane Craft Project.
When my work at school is done, I get to see my children. Therein is more work, however. I am increasingly grateful for the chance to see my children but sometimes I must work to see them, to fix my gaze on their beautiful personhood, to really examine their condition. So what if their T-shirts are fraying at the edges, what of their souls? Are they fraying too because of neglect?
I have been changed by this work of seeing. Folding clothes and touching T-shirts, the little armholes where arms that throw and wave and flail poke through. I never saw all this before.
This work is such gift and I pray that my eyesight would always be sure enough to do it and love it and become better by it. And to always, always be changed by it.