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?