I see you…

You’re over there, pushing the cutest little blond boy on the red swing. He’s smiling a sleepy, peaceful smile that gets bigger when you surprise him with a tickle up his legs.

I see you twist around anxiously to watch a ponytailed three-year-old hop up fearlessly to the top of the tall slide, the one you think she’s too small for, but can’t convince her otherwise. I can actually see you hold your breath as you let her have this independent moment and try to keep it cool for the giggling boy next to you.

I see you.

You’re glancing at the little boy’s almond eyes with such a mix of love, compassion, worry, fear, hope, I can almost feel the heaviness in your shoulders. My gosh, that love. The pride you have when he makes a statement third-person about “Zacky” wanting to swing or needing a drink. You love those muffled words, those little phrases that you understand better than anyone else and that have taken hours upon hours of therapies and practices.

You’ve scooped up Miss Ponytail, twirling her and brushing back the fine strands that never stay in place. Her laughter inspires your laughter and Big Brother travels over to join the fun.

I see you.

Your embarrassment over the tantrum that was much worse to you than anyone else.

The mix of fear and exhaustion when he runs away, not understanding danger. You understand it too well.

I can imagine you holding a dance party in your living room. Some CCR on Pandora and four little hands mimicking your shakes.

I see you when she jumps up in bed at 5:45a.m., full of energy and questions. Your mind hasn’t woken up yet so its all about pulling her in close and smelling her hair and squeezing her tight.

I can imagine the way you internally jump for joy when, instead of his usual “No Kiss-a Me,” he asks you to stay with him in bed at nighttime and you pet his hair and caress the freckle behind his right ear and sing his favorite song.

I see your hands. That push swings for contented boys and steady brave little girls. That wipe tears and create imaginary pixie dust in different colors to solve different problems. That pick up strewn toys and flatten PlayDoh.

The hips that have held infants then toddlers and now 40-pound kiddos. They handle bouncing camera bags and your treasured DSLR.

Eyes that pore over chromosome diagrams and research papers and photo editing. That attempt the stack of neglected magazines.

I see you. Doing your best and trying so hard. You do your best when you don’t even try at all, when you just let it be, let it happen.

I see you. Do you see yourself?

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D&D

Two of the most entertaining, spontaneous, exciting, kind, beautiful souls I’ve ever known found each other and sealed the deal with a wedding this weekend. My cousin Dan married his lovely┬ábride Dorothy.

 

There were scorpions and Star Wars theme songs and other fun quirky moments that made it all theirs.

 

But there was family. The crazy cousins and newer baby cousins and awesome aunts and uncles and everything in between. People we met on Dan’s earlier adventures and people we hope we see again on future adventures.

 

There was breakdancing (by our son) and shrieks of “NO” when asked if anyone had any reason for them not to marry (by our daughter, who was bribed to sit still with promise of a “princess” — Dorothy did not disappoint).

 

I felt my heart smiling.

Watching big tough guys hold hands with little girls in poofy dresses, sharing laughs and memories with those we don’t see nearly enough, gathering despite extreme exhaustion in the lobby of our hotel just to be with one another a few minutes longer.

 

After all the planning, it was over in a flash and I we found ourselves in the car heading home faster than I would have liked, but we return home with plans for visits in the months to come and promises I intend to keep.

 

There was love, love, beautiful love.

My heart is still smiling.

 

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