The other day, I was driving to my local Big Box discount-ish store and listening to the radio. A man, a pastor, was talking about having a really difficult day at work. When he arrived home, his daughter greeted him and was telling him all about her day. At some point in her story, he realized he wasn't looking at her...he was looking through her, so focused on his problems, he wasn't focused on her.
I arrived at my destination so I did not hear what else he realized or how he changed things after that moment of discovery, but I do know that this story got my attention.
In that snippet of his story, I saw my own life. I saw how I walk through life not always seeing what is right in front of me.
I realized that sometimes, more than I probably care to admit, I look through my kids rather than looking at them. I didn't like that realization. The fact that we're preparing for #6 made that realization more disconcerting.
I know I get wrapped up in the busyness of every day life. I know that sometimes I am more focused on the messes and the piles of laundry and the noise..the things that the strangers who might knock on my door will notice first. I see the surface stuff. (Who has a smear of pizza on their chin...two hours after lunch? Whose hair needs to be combed? Is the couch slipcover all out of whack? How many dishes are in the sink?) These are the things about which I fear judgement..well, that and when they act like wild animals...in public.
I forget to see what is really important. I forget to nurture their hearts and souls in the midst of keeping up appearances. I forget that appearances aren't worth much if they're only skin-deep. Isn't this why I tell them not to judge other people. Isn't this why I try to remember that I might not see the whole picture or know the whole story? Yet, I live in fear of such judgement..and not from God..from other humans, from my peers.
What if they think I'm dropping the ball? What if they look at my kids and only notice the wild animal moments? What if they think I'm a bad mom because the 3 yo throws things or does demolition derby with his cars instead of driving sedately?
The more important question is what if I am dropping the ball, but about big invisible to the naked eye stuff? What if...What if I focus on just loving them? What if I teach them the way they should behave without thinking about how someone else thinks they should behave? What if I trust myself and, more importantly, trust in God to lead me through this awesome adventure of parenthood?
What if....I look and truly see what is in front of me. And appreciate them in all their wild animal glory. And cherish these moments.