Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Power of One

This evening our daughter quietly announced that she was the only single parent in her daughter's pre-school class. There was accusation in her voice, in her posture as she said it, a posture that said I'm different, I'm less. I wish she could see what I see, not less, but more, so much more.

These beautiful children snuggled in their mother's lap are happy. That is not by chance, it doesn't happen by chance, it happens because they have a mother who works hard at their happiness. A mother who gives up what it is she wants in order to give to them, to make their lives full, to make their lives complete and whole and rich. This is what I see.

I see her in the morning when I go in to her room to shut off the alarm, the alarm that never seems to be loud enough to wake her on its first try. Doesn't wake her or her daughter who often curls into her mother's side because that is where she sleeps better, sleeps sounder, sleeps safer.

I see the clothes she lays out for each of them, clothes that she has bought, that she has chosen for them because she knows they like the style, the color or the way they feel against their skin. I see her frustration at how long it takes her son to find his shoes or her how long it takes her daughter to fasten the buckles on her car seat, by herself. I see her smile, the only smile she allows to reach her eyes, the smile she wears when she looks at her children, really looks at them.

I see the way she spreads her paycheck, counts it and spreads it thin on her and heavy on them. Heavy on what they need, what must be bought, what doesn't come cheap. I see her gratitude for her daycare provider, a woman who loves my daughter's children as her own.

I see her at dinner, when her plate is fixed last, the food a little cooler than she likes it but on her plate longer than anyone else's because of the time it takes to prepare two plates before hers, two drinks before hers, seconds before her firsts are finished.

I see her evenings, evenings spent at home, at home preparing for the next day, the next day that will start with her daughter climbing into her bed, her alarm going off too soon, her son looking for his shoes, her daughter buckling herself.

I see all of these things, all of these things that happen before her workday begins, her workday that brings with it the demands of a busy office, a busy practice, a busy day.

I do not see less, I see more. I see more for her to do. I see her do more. I see her give more, more to her children, more each day. I see her give more to them and take less for herself. I see her and wish she could see what I see.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Welcome Home

There are times in my life when I are grateful, truly grateful for the things I have, the life I live and the people around me. If you have read my blog, even one entry, you know that my family is everything to me. This wonderful growing group of people who populate my life with love, laughter, anger and wisdom mean everything to me and I know how fortunate I am to live in the midst of all of them. But today, this one day, I want so single one out, to focus on the acts and life and person of one of our family.

The man in this picture is our son-in-law. This morning he woke up on U.S. soil for the first time in a very long time. This morning he woke up one huge leap closer to the end of his deployment. This morning he woke up one step and a lot of miles closer to his wife. This morning our daughter woke up one day closer to being reunited with her husband. This morning I woke up and could breathe. For him and for her.

At some point prior to September 11, patriotism went out of fashion. Public display of pride in our country was minimal and yet for many brave Americans like our son-in-law, love of our country was anything but minimal. I know some of the reasons he made this unselfish choice, this choice that puts him in harms way (we tease him mercilessly that it's a good thing he wears a uniform because left on his own his color choices are a bit off), but to watch him, to see him and the men he serves with, to see their dedication, commitment and the ease with which he carries the burden of leadership fills me with admiration, love, pride and respect for the man he is, the person he is.

This morning I am grateful. Grateful for this man. Grateful for his choice to serve. Grateful for his life. Grateful for his leadership. Grateful for his sacrifice. Grateful for his love for my daughter.

Welcome home, Jay, welcome home