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Saturday, December 20, 2014

What I didn't know

I thought I knew pain.  Before.  But I didn't.

Sure, I knew what it felt like to enter a classroom full of kids, all alone, terrified.  I remember how lonely I felt, and how shy.  I remember coming home every day, laying my six-year-old head on the kitchen table, and crying.

My heart was hurt.  But it wasn't broken.

If I had looked at my mom, really looked at her, as she rubbed my back and told me it would be okay, I would have seen a broken heart.

I understood rejection.  I felt the hurt of reaching for my dreams, only to see them crushed before me.  The lead role or the solo swiped out from under me.  I remember falling on my bed, sobbing.  I saved my tears for home, where I felt safe.

My heart was hurt.  But it wasn't broken.

If I had looked at my mom, really looked at her, as she rubbed my back and told me it would be okay, I would have seen a broken heart.

I felt crushed with disappointment when the doctor told me this was it.  I would have to be induced.  Today.  I called my mom and dad as I packed my bags.  I could barely get out the words through my tears.

My heart was hurt.  But it wasn't broken.

This time an ocean stood between us.  So she couldn't rub my back, only tell me it would be okay.  But if I listened, really listened, I would have heard a heart breaking.

I didn't know.  Before.  But now I do.

I know that watching your child hurt is the worst pain.  Because they eventually fall asleep, after the tears, but we're up.  For hours and hours.  Thinking and hurting.  Feeling the pain for them as they slumber peacefully.  Frequenting their bedside, wishing and praying and longing to take it away.

I think it's different for dads.  They care and they love, so much.  But Joel is able to see past the pain.  To know that, particularly with young kids, circumstances can change fast.  And next week, or even tomorrow, they'll be just fine.

I know that, but I can't seem to feel it.  What I feel is my child playing alone at recess, or crying as he walks into the cafeteria.  I can't feel that it will soon be over.  I can only feel the moment.  And as I watch them sleep, and eat, and even laugh, I realize I feel it even more so.  That, in some ways, it's even worse for me than it is for them.

And I remember now.  The tears sparkling in my mom's eyes, behind her reassuring smile.  And I wonder how she stayed so strong.

I wasn't grateful then.  But I am now.  I'm grateful for someone walking through life with me.  Feeling my pain and my joy.  Even if I didn't always notice.

So happy birthday to my beautiful, loving Mom.  Thank you for never caring if I noticed.

But just so you know.  I do now.


2 comments:

  1. What a beautiful birthday gift for your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree. Its the best gift you could give. You are both blessed!

    ReplyDelete