Anna, I See You


My eyes are squeezed shut in the mornings when I hear her pad softly into my room. She’s always the first one awake. Always. Like clockwork, just before 7 am, her bladder awakens her, and after she is done with her business, she climbs quietly into my bed and puts her face right next to mine. I pry my eyes open and the tip of her nose is pressed lightly against the tip of mine and there’s a smile that stretches across that gorgeous face. Without my glasses I’m almost blind, but at this range I can see the perfect sang-ah-pul on her eyes. Her dark lashes seem to reach out to me.

“Good morning, mommy,” she whispers quietly, and I say, “Hi, beauty, did you have good sleep?” She nods at me, and says she’s hungry.

I roll out of bed with a sigh and a thud; my feet land on the floor. And off we go.

The rest of the day I feel like I’m running up and down the stairs beating the same path from my room to their room to the laundry to the kitchen back to their room and so on and so forth. The kids need apple juice. I need to pee. The kids need socks. I need to wash my face. The boys want their damn ninja turtles. I need to put a shirt on. The girl wants a scarf to tie her baby doll to her back. I need to find my glasses. The baby boy wants to have a dinosaur shirt like his big brother. Where’s my coffee? I run around the house looking for that cup of salvation. There it is. It was on the dryer. The girl needs socks. I need my shoes. The kids need their lunches. I need my phone. The kids want to watch Rescue Bots. I need them to get in the freaking car … right now and sit down and put on your seatbelts!

Did I brush my teeth? Shoot. No. 

They go to camp or school for a large portion of the day. And my mind is in a daze as I try to organize a to-do list, and then sit exhausted from that task alone. After stopping for errands and writing emails in between I pick them up and we come home. And it’s that same trajectory as soon as we walk through the front door. The kids need juice. I need to pee. The kids need socks. I need to send an email. The kids want a show. I need to make a phone call. Then Anna wants me to come to the bathroom with her.

As I stand and wait for her I am looking at my phone again. Reading a blog, maybe. Looking through Instagram. Tweeting a random thought. Or honest to God staring off into space to try to remember that thing I forgot from a minute ago. Or maybe just looking at the wall and wishing it was a happy hour bar. She gets up to wash her hands and sees herself in the mirror. And she sees me, too.

Mommy, do you see me?Click To Tweet

She will say this to me often throughout the day. “Mommy, do you see me? Because I see you.” Lately there are (more) times (than not) when I am short with her and say, “Yes, Anna, of course, I see you” or I snap, “Anna, stop asking me that question, and get in the car,” or “Anna, hurry up and finish going potty and wash your hands.”

It’s been a hard month.

I’ve been snappy and short, impatient and inconsiderate, absent-minded and absorbed. But. Those moments that I see Anna, and our eyes meet in the mirror, I realize her needs are actually really pretty uncomplicated. Juice and socks are helpful. Ultimately though she just wants me to see her.

Seeing is loving when it comes to parenthood and childhood. Click To Tweet

As she grows older I know that she will have to deal with judging eyes, skeptical eyes, diminishing eyes, a gaze that might look at her and see an object (and I swear to God I will kill anyone that dares to see her as anything but wonderful). So I want her to see me seeing her.

It hits me that my needs are pretty simple. Coffee, yes, absolutely, without a doubt. And chips and salsa. And maybe 70 degree weather.

But all I really need is to be seen by her, too.

7 thoughts on “Anna, I See You

  • July 1, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    “Seeing is loving.” Maybe always, for all of us. Love this.

    • July 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Laura!

  • July 6, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Oh! I love this and I needed it on a Monday morning. It’s been a hard summer here too. I’ve had both my boys at home with me most days. I feel like I get nothing done (no writing, reading, or other sanity building activities for me) but it’s also been special because we’ve had no schedule. I crave a schedule but my oldest does not. I’ve loved watching him “enjoy” exploring the day and it reminds me that I need to “see” these moments more often.

    • July 9, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      That’s wonderful – I keep hearing Sheryl Sandberg’s lean in language whenever I start to feel like I’m spiraling down – lean in to the varied schedules, lean in to the many requests to read and color, lean in to exploring and seeing. Sigh. Thanks!

  • July 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I appreciate your transparency. I often feel that my children want more of me than I’m willing to, or can give at any given moment. Though they are older (ages 15, 10, and 7), they often seem to demand more of my attention when I’m least likely to be able to give it to them for whatever reason (not in the mood for the back n’ forth, exhaustion, or haven’t had my coffee (I know u can relate), or I’m otherwise occupied). They want to make sure that my eyes are locked with theirs, that they have my undivided attention. Simply put, that can be taxing; however, this post provides a healthy perspective of what just “is”, not good or bad, just is. “Seeing is loving” – a simple response and takeaway to the often complex “art” of parenting. Thank you.

    • July 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Thank you for your encouraging response. I’m kind of cringing at the thought of the kids getting older and requiring more and more “contact” and communication. But this is good – I need to remember all the simple ways we reassure them of our attention. Whether 4 or 14! Sigh.

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