What you see: a clean shaven, well kept man
What I see: the laundry that had to be washed, dried, folded, hung and put away. The towels that have to stay stocked. The shave cream, deodorant and other essentials that need to be bought even if he doesn’t write them down on the walmart list. The belt that I find in random places and put in an assigned place to ensure he isn’t searching the house last minute before going to work. The coffee, fresh eggs and homemade bread that is always in our home so he can have his standard breakfast. The hot lunches everyday. Dinner ready shortly after he gets home. The late evening couch dates, the unending role of being his sounding board to the dreams he has and the voice of reason to the problems he faces.
What you see: a polite, caring, focused little man
What I see: the unending life lesson talks that take place as we work through the issues that come from building friendships. The urgent hugs when the tears are forming, just to be put at bay as he clings to me. The manual labor, time outs, restrictions, and other forms of character building actions to face temperaments and words that should have never left his head and mouth. The incessant need to torment 2 sisters every single school morning leaving me with thoughts of far away places that don’t include them, just to be shown his compassion when they are hurt or scared. The promise to never give him false hope of what he can do in the world, but also the reassurance that he can and will be able to go after BIG things because of the inner drive the Lord gave him.
What you see: a healthy vibrant normal 7 yr old girl
What I see: the mirror of all my strengths and weaknesses. The fighter, the warrior, the “don’t tell me I can’t” spirit. The hard talks, the list of why’s that are given on a daily basis when challenged to not comply with her CF maintenance plan. The meal planning to reach her insane amount of calories needed, the therpay schedule, meds ordered. The tears that fly out, fits thrown, glares, words that break a mom’s heart when CF is too much. The courage and bravery when asked to do things most adults can’t handle on clinic days with her team of specialists. The smile out of the corner of her mouth, dark brown eyes locked on me as if to say “mom, breathe, I am ok”. The after school talks about her dreams of leading worship in church one day, the way I should sing songs or when they should be sung at church. The cries, alone in a hot shower, far away from her, after reading her prayer journal and facing the reality of how her 7 yr old heart is dealing with her fatal disease.
What you see: freckled face, fearless, intense, bright light 5 yr old
What I see: the constant need to be affirmed and in close contact with me…ALL the TIME. The creak of the floor, the shower turning on, the realization I am alone in the bathroom sends her soaring to get one on one time. The need to know every boundary and dos and don’ts in life. “Mom, is this bad…mom I can’t do this right…mom, this is the right way, right?”. The talks of not squeezing her baby sister so hard that always leaves the baby in tears. The talking off the ledge when hysterics come when something doesn’t go her way. The reminder of who she is in Christ when she makes everyone want to be far away from her due to her level of intensity. The bloody nose that had to be cleaned up after her sister ticked her off. Her need to pray for people on the spot many times at the most awkward time, just to be reminded that if we don’t listen we could rip away the very thing God created her to do. The gentle reminders she is seen and will be cared for when she climbs the counters or cuts her nails to short because she got tired of waiting for her turn in the hierarchy of needs being put on her parents.
What you see: a infectious soon to be 3 yr old
What I see: the need to stop what I am doing and sit on the floor and hold her after making the baby cry for the 8th time before 9:30 am. The patience needed to wait for little miss “me do it” that delays all hopes of being on time anywhere. The reminder to watch my words unless I want them repeated in ways they are not meant to be. The battle of wills when trying to convince her it’s her idea to do something. The rubbing of my head or back when I have put myself in time out after nearly loosing my top with her and her stubborn spirit. The “I lubb you mommy” when I finally get a moment with just her and I.
What you see: a gentle quiet little baby
What I see: the midnight feeding, the 2:30 am feeding, the 5 am feeding. Eyes closed, rhythmic breathing as I hold her chubby little hand in mine. The burping, rocking and gentle movements that take place to get her back in her bed. The tears to be held NOW when her siblings need me, the dinner that needs to be made, the floors that need to be scrubbed, the laundry that needs to be folded. The refusal of solids when all I want is to be able to go 4-5 hrs without needing to be a open 24/7 diner. The cries that can’t be figured out, only to learn that momma’s arms, a quiet lullaby and my beating heart soothe whatever ailment she has. The postpartum body glaring back at me and beating up my confidence, but is met with the purest sigh of relief when each meal is prepared and made from that awesome post partuem body
To all the momma’s living everyday in the trenches. I applaud you, I want to line up a whole group of women and have you run through a tunnel of cheers and high 5s from warriors, fighters, survivors, contenders, sisters, mothers, grandmas, aunts, who know and see you. I want you to be seen. I want you to be honored. I want you to know that all the things you do everyday, every night, over and over, matter. Don’t give up hope, don’t think other moms have it all together. They are probably crying over their coffee that was ruined with a dog toy too.
To my momma friends, I see YOU, you are NOT invisible.
What I would give to hug and cheer each of you on, but let’s get real, trying to get out and do something for ourselves and match another mom’s small window of “me time” is near impossible. So let’s dream of that magical day we can sit and look back on theese days and be thankful we survived and more importantly blessed to be called MOM, a title some pray and wish for but never will experience.
So until then, I raise my cold cup of coffee that was hot at one point, to you