Much of my day as a mommy can be summed up as being here to say, with and without words, "I see you, darling."
Whenever Emeth chokes on his food or water, he would prolong his cough until I look him in the eye and ask, "Emeth, are you ok?" Then, he would nod and go on eating.
When he builds with his Lego pieces, usually into shapes that he calls either a "truck" or a "plane," he would always come over to show me the finished product.
The other day, as he was near tears after a fall, daddy picked him up and comforted him. After a few magical blows and kisses, he was brand new and off running again.
He is a toddler who prioritizes cleanliness. He doesn't like it when he gets a yogurt-mustache on his lips or spaghetti sauce on his fingers. So today, because we had both those things on the menu, I spent most of dinner wiping his mouth and his fingers.
When he knows he is being obedient, or kind, or when he is sharing, he would look our way and clap his hands as if to say, "Do you see me?"
By watching and listening, I am shaping Emeth into the man is he becoming.
We are each a witness.* We stand as witnesses before the lives of those we encounter everyday--our husbands, wives, parents, siblings, the librarian, the cashier, stranger on the sidewalk. As selfish creatures, it takes great effort for us to see beside ourselves and look to others--how are they kind or admirable, how are we to appreciate and honor them.
We shape one another into who we are becoming. We are given to one another in order that we may say throughout the day, with and without words, "I see you."
At 28, I am really not all that different from my two-year-old.
When I conjure up some interesting recipe in the kitchen, it is a ritual for me to offer the first bite to Hans. With my curiosity at the verge of bursting, I wait for him to scoop/cut/bite his first taste. Then, like a gentleman, he offers his verdict, noticing the subtleties, commenting on the new ingredients, the new technique.
You see me. And I am loved.
*My friend Serene wrote about being her husband's witness. The concept stayed with me.