Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bigger Picture Moment: Mia, from Justin's Perspective


He tells me about it.

He walks Mia into her elementary school and down the hall to her kindergarten class.  There are not many parents walking their kids all the way into school this late in the year.  Mostly, the tiled halls are filled with children threading around corners and dashing behind friends. 

I imagine it: cool, morning light at their backs, father and daughter silhouetted in the glow.  His hand reaches down to hers reaching up.  Palms as touchpoints.  Longer strides slowed to shorter.  He glances sideways at her assurance.  This is her turf.  She knows it and is master of it.

At her hallway, she slows down.  One hand steadies her backpack and the other tries to pull away from her daddy's grip.  She is pulling into herself now -- condensing into a girl who needs no strong hand to guide her to the classroom.  And she certainly doesn't need a hug or kiss.  Once they arrive at the classroom door, she is all but self-enclosed.  Still, Justin asks, in case she's decided to allow a bit of bestowed affection after all.

Okay, Mia, give me a hug, he says.  It's half joke, half plea.

Her face curls up into a smile that won't be released.  It's too embarrassing.  Inside, there must be a gem of want -- a place that needs her daddy's hug before saying goodbye -- or the smile would be a true scowl.  She would simply race away, into the room of friends who are surely watching to see some errant display of shameful love.  But she stays, betraying the want while refusing to acknowledge it.

So he makes a concession.  A trio of hand squeezes in exchange for a refused hug.

Squeeze.  Squeeze.  Squeeze.

I. Love. You.

She grips his hand and reciprocates the pattern, looking away the whole time.  She will give nothing away.  Her backpack is hitched up on one shoulder now, and one leg is over the threshold.  She is here, but already gone. 

Their hands release, but his eyes hold on.  Locked on her as she darts away, hair flying back in her haste.  He waits, watching for one last maybe

Maybe she will look back.

Maybe she will flash a smile.

Maybe she will sign 'I Love You' with stretched out fingers.

But either way, all day he feels the squeezes of slender fingers on his hand.  Memory-ghosting around his heart like a promise, of which she carries the mirror image.

I. Love. You.



We're seeing the Bigger Picture through simple moments -- moments that force us to stop and take notice of the ways our worlds are important, meaningful, and beautiful.  Please join us here today!  Grab the button, link up, and read a few others to encourage them as they walk this journey of intentional living.



15 comments:

  1. Oh, how very bitter sweet! But the love is palpable, and I'm sure she will always, eventually look back.

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    1. It is bittersweet -- he so wants a hug before going, but he understands her growing up into a little bit of embarrassment. And those looks back are worth it :)

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  2. *sigh* There's nothing like Daddy's love for his little girl.

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    1. Right?! And this love is fierce. Strong enough to weather the longing!

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  3. My husband walked our daughter down the aisle this past October. In a very, very real way this could have been written about that moment ... different setting - EXACTLY the same emotion! This was tender and lovely and brought a tear to my eyes.

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    1. Oh gosh. Justin makes me change the radio station any time that song comes on about the daddy 'dancing with Cinderella.' So there's no WAY I can tell him that these emotions are so similar to walking down the aisle!! Now I need to go grab a tissue -- why is raising kids so FRAUGHT?!

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  4. Here but already gone.....Tug! You got me by the heartstrings!

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  5. Goodness, how sweet is this?! I so long for Gabriel to give me a meaningful hug or kiss before he flits onto the bus in the morning, but he is always so excited, so ready to go, that my own pleas are hastily, half-heartedly met. Sometimes I get a brief smile as the bus pulls away. Oh, these independent sweethearts of ours!

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    1. It's rough, huh? But encouraging and sweet at the same time: we've raised little ones who are secure enough to venture away.

      Darn it :)

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  6. Oh, Sarah, this one slays me -- absolutely slays me. I cannot imagine the day when hugs turn to hand squeezes or how sweet those three squeezes are as they linger on the memory for the rest of the day.

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    1. I know! It's making me savor the clinginess and need from the little ones all the more. The first child teaches us so much. Every step of the way.

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  7. Oh Sarah ... this made me cry. My dad and I were so close and I remember those little times of wanting to be independent and pulling away but still needing him. Awww...sigh....And it will be a bittersweet day when that happens with me and the boys. They just grow so fast.

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    1. (((Hugs))) Brook! The cycle just keeps repeating, I suppose. Bittersweet for sure.

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  8. Lovely story. It is reassuring to know that even when they get too old to give hugs away as freely, there are so many ways to express love.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?