May 30, 2013
My Dearest Papito,
Everyday as I drive you to school, I look at that sweet soft face of yours in the rearview mirror. Usually when you see me looking at you, you cock your head to the side and give me a gentle loving smile. You are not yet harried or tired from the day. You have a belly full of pancakes or Crispix, and sometimes even a lingering milk mustache that I’m too rushed to clean (and maybe secretly, don’t want to.) Those moments when our eyes lock are magical. Mostly because I know that within mere minutes, you will be off and running for the day at school, nary a look back at the car. But sometimes, like today, time stops. And I don’t just look at your face, but I see you. I try to really see you every time we’re together, but somehow, moments pass, things get busy, and being human, I miss you. But today I didn’t. I really saw you Papito. Who you are inside and out. The beauty that is uniquely yours. The indescribable relationship we have.
Yet, when you told me that you didn’t want to go to school today, I expected a proclamation of a desire for summer to finally be here or a protest of art class, but rather you said, “I’d just like to stay home and cuddle with you. That’s what I’d like.” And with that, Lulu said, “Me too.” And both of you, at the same time, looked at me with THAT smile. The one that melts my heart. The one that gives me the gold star for the day that tells me I did something, even if I don’t know what that something is, that I did something right. In that moment, I know that you saw me. You saw the love that I have for you that has no boundaries. You saw the love that didn’t want to go to work either, but was desperately seeking to just turn around and spend the day with you.
Sometimes I feel like it is just so hard being a parent, especially a mom, because what I want to do is sometimes the direct opposite of what I have to do. What I try to do is the exact opposite of how it turns out. The expectations I place on myself are so far beyond what I can deliver. And with these opposites, I can feel like such a failure. Like I have failed you. Like I have not given you, my golden prize, the best of me – or simply the best – which is what you so deserve. And when I see you looking at me with those God-given eyes, I wonder if you see that in me. Do you see my failures? Do you see the many ways that I fall short of the mother I want to be?
And then, things like today happen. And in one moment, that “something” I did right feeds me the fuel I need to get through another day. Knowing that being in my arms is a place that you want to be, assures me that there is a safe spot in your heart where I live – where I breathe – where I am with you in a way nobody else can be. When you are on the stage at school and you look in the crowd for me and breathe a visible sigh of relief when you see me….when I come to your classroom door to pick you up a little early and you run into my arms…when I tuck you in at night and you don’t want to let go….when you collapse into my arms….those are the moments.
We don’t know what the future brings, but I pray that my love for you and the immensity of it will continue to occupy that place in your heart that comforts you on your life’s journey. That seeing me in the front pew on your wedding day will bring you that same comfort that seeing me in the front row of your Kindergarten play brought. That me picking you up from college brings you the same feeling that me picking you up from summer camp brought. That somehow, even as you grow, you will know that I forever see you. That I SEE you. That I banked these moments…these words…these smiles…these cuddles we shared for all of our precious years together. I hope you will always know that mornings like today – words, smiles, moments – never went unnoticed. But rather, they were banked in my heart – in a special place that is forever engraved with your name.