In May FDW is hosting a new series on stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Click here for more on the series and a list of the contributors. This post was written by Anna Ross Bruce.
Look out the window today, my child,
And see everything that is possible.
The bird about to take flight.
The person in a car driving by.
The light of day stretching across the horizon.
Look out the window today
And wonder what it will be like
To pay attention to the trees
The way they stand so elegantly in a frozen Earth.
Listen to how snow sounds
As you take a step out the door.
Look out the window today, my child
And wonder what it would be like
To greet every person
With a smile and a wave – or even a hug.
Truly happy that they walked into the room. And,
Noticing the smile that embraces them,
They too will feel lighter.
Look out the window today, my daughter,
And see all that has been given and made.
Even in a season of cold and barrenness
There is a bird about to take flight,
And a person in a car driving by.
And the light of a new day stretching across the horizon.
If you just take the time to look out the window
You would see everything that is possible.
This is the way God loves you.
I wrote this poem for my daughter, Abbey, on her first birthday this past February. It was a cold and snowy month. I took advantage of the frozen, snow-covered day and woke early to write and reflect a bit on a year that had flashed by with lightening speed.
Three months into being a mom, I never dreamed I would make it to this point of nearer peace and easier breaths. In the midst of dirty diapers, the infamous dilemma of nurse/pump/formula (omigod – the anxiety of having to make the “right” choice every time) and going back to fulltime ministry, there were more days than not when I felt as though my lungs couldn’t handle the inhale/exhale of breathing.
How does it happen that one can go from bliss to despair to bittersweet joy in the span of 12 months?
I doubt if any of us parental figures can answer that question with utmost certainty. And our answers would likely vary like the selection of baby products at Babies R Us. Oh, goodness, that store.
I think, perhaps, what is keeping me going – what I am just barely beginning to learn (thanks to my girl) – is the pure art of looking out the window. It sounds way too simplistic with a side of cheesiness, I know.
But in a way that is difficult to put into words, I am learning how to see the world again. In those first few months, despite having this little miracle sleeping in my arms, I couldn’t see past my inner desperation. How in God’s name am I going to do this?! How am I going to raise this child, work, and keep up appearances? How am I going to handle the changing pace of life that will only get more complicated? How? How? How?
I’ve always been a morning person. But during that time, I dreaded the sun’s arrival. It meant the struggle was following me into yet another day.
Time passed and I began to slowly ease into a new normal, with so much help from my husband, family, friends, and loving congregation. Now every morning when we get her up, Jeff and I take Abbey to her bedroom window and open the blinds. Some days it’s raining. Other days the sun is coming up in hues of neon pinks and oranges. She looks with awe and wonder at the world outside her window. And she also likes to play with the blinds, but I like to tell myself she’s mainly looking out the window.
Perhaps I am doing this daily ritual as much for me as for her. We look for the birds and say a prayer of thanks for the quiet peace of morning’s color. There will be good days and bad, yes. But I am noticing the beauty of possibility, family and spirituality in a way I never would had she not entered my life.
I never want her to lose sight of this sense of appreciation and attention to the world around her. A world that is messy and messed up, yet was born in love and care – just like her. I never want her to lose sight of this truth. Which means, I am realizing, that I cannot lose sight of it either.
Here’s to a new day.
Anne Ross Bruce is a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), currently co-pastoring a congregation in south-central Kentucky with her husband, Jeff. They have one daughter, Abbey (named after The Beatles’ Abbey Road); 2 pups, Patch and Pepper, and Skeeter the cat.
Anne blogs at “Chocolate Sundaes” which is located at annerossbruce.blogspot.com.