Home > Family, Love, Parenting, Personal > The cards I missed

The cards I missed

Photo by Andrea C

I’d just picked up my wedding gown when I dropped off my car for servicing in late September 2013.

I meant to transfer the gown to my husband’s car, but couldn’t do so without first showing it to P, the mechanic who always seems to  help me when my car has troubles.

She loved my dress. She wished me a happy wedding and all the best for my baby-to-come, then only visible as the slightest belly bump.

Since we last parted ways, I’ve been wed and had a baby and celebrated my husband’s promotion to assisting directing and left my old job and started a new one. I’ve probably put at least 20,000 miles on my car, who treats me well though I let her languish in untidiness and without hubcap covers or driver side door handle.

All these big changes have really been many sequences of smaller changes, so that I sometimes forget life was ever something than what it is right now. Until, standing in line to pick up my car from the mechanic today, I locked eyes with P for a moment before hers rolled toward the tiny man in my arm. Until she briefly ignored the customer she was assisting to proclaim his perfection as he writhed and giggled at the attention.

baby teeth

Seeing my life–albeit briefly–through her eyes reminded me how much has changed since we last saw each other.

That bump she could barely see in late 2013 is now an almost ten-month-old baby, Littler J. He loves me and his daddy, but it’s his older brother, Li’l D, who really gets him going. He howls with laughter whenever he catches sight of five-year-old Li’l D, as if to say in his pre-word way, “I don’t know what shenanigans you’re about to pull, but I know there will be shenanigans, and I endorse them!”

My husband told Li’l D for months that everything would change once his baby brother got more mobile. “He won’t need this much of our attention forever!” he’d say. “He’ll want to follow you everywhere and won’t want as much to do with us!” This is coming true now, as Littler J hurtles after his brother as fast as four limbs will carry him. Li’l D is less grumpy about this second-child business now he sees his little brother is truly his number one fan.

I snap at Li’l D so much more than I did when he was my only child and practically my world. And yet, as he climbs into my lap with books he remembers from our earliest days reading together, I know he sees me for more than my less than stellar parenting moments. “He knows how much you love him,” says my husband often, prompting me each time to think how I still feel my mom’s love many years after I lost her first to mental illness and later to death. I don’t need to be perfect, remembering her reminds me. I do need to show my love, say sorry, and continue taking small steps toward the patience that came naturally to me one year ago.

I thought my husband worked long and hard as a Production Assistant, but he’s been working twice as hard as an Assistant Director. We’re barely awake in each other’s presence these days. When we are, it’s to wonder groggily when we might next spend quality time together.

Seeing these things and so many more as I stood with P this afternoon, I was elated. But how? Why?

Day to day, I see every little bit of grime and mistake it for all there is.

Today, I saw–through P’s eyes–my day to day now through a lens of then.

And I saw how beautiful it is. How the hard work and the toothy baby smiles and the long drives and the don’tyoudaredothatagains and the bedtime snuggles and morning cups of coffee courtesy Li’l D and the cursing at my Portuguese CDs (wondering how I’m supposed to repeat words I can’t seem to even hear right) and the amazing sunsets to my left as I crawl toward my sons’ school in molasses traffic and the exhaustion and the hope and the pondering what’s to come and the savoring these moments we have together is life. How it’s breathtaking when seen for everything it is instead of only its smallest, weariest parts.

Through P’s eyes, I saw it all. I held my baby close and felt an exultant thank you in everything.

As if to affirm my just-typed thank you, Li’l D flew through the front door. “I went to the arcade with Daddy. Look how many cards I got!” he shouted. “I got so many cards!”

His daddy is now tucking him into bed. And me? I’m smiling, oh how I’m smiling, as I think of P and marvel at all the cards I failed to see right in front of me.

ticket face

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  1. January 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    So beautiful! 🙂

    • January 24, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you! It started as one post and turned into another one completely, for which I’m so glad! 😀

  2. January 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    So beautiful! Your children are so very adorable! Your post is well written and I enjoyed it, but I am so sorry I cannot say much intelligently about it, for I am blown away by those smiles! And the tickets! Wow!

    • January 24, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you! I just got up and beamed when I saw the heap of tickets on the dining room table. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at arcade tickets the same again, which is quite a joyous thing in light of the circumstances. 🙂

  3. January 24, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Lovely share – thank you. And lovely wedding pic!

    • January 25, 2015 at 6:42 am

      Thank you! That pic was taken by my friend Andrea. She’s moved back to Peru, but this pic takes me back to being in the same space as her that super sweet day.

  4. NotAPunkRocker
    January 25, 2015 at 2:15 am

    🙂

  5. January 25, 2015 at 4:36 am

    As I read this tears welled up in my eyes and tracked down my cheeks because the cards you got are so perfect. I think you don’t forget them, just save them up to be reminded at the moment you need them most.

    • January 25, 2015 at 6:48 am

      You know, I think you’re right. I think I see one card at a time and alternate between viewing each comfortably, but only occasionally truly see the landscape created when they’re all held up together. Much love. ♥

  6. January 25, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Your babies are too adorable!

  7. January 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Love this!! It really resonates with my experience of having a five-year-old boy and a baby boy too 🙂 Just today, my littler guy was giggling hysterically as his older brother threw a ball to entertain him. My baby only laughs like that for his older brother. Your boys are adorable!

    • January 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Oh, and… I also snap at my older boy now more than before. Sigh.

    • January 26, 2015 at 5:02 am

      Exactly the same here! I might get an occasional standalone chuckle from Littler J, but it’s Li’l D who makes him howl! Yesterday, I got a short video of Littler J walking with his daddy; his eyes were on his brother the whole time, with a huge smile. Seeing that just lifts me right up. ♥

  8. January 25, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Ah! Beautiful! I also experience the day-to-day grind and viewing of “failings” (which are usually just me being human) and I can miss the picture until I’m placed in a position of looking at my life from another perspective. Your post just gave me that right now, so thank you! Now my heart is full of joy (and my lap is full of baby, which is delightful on its own, really).

    • January 26, 2015 at 5:05 am

      Your comment has me grinning. All my boys are still asleep right now, but revisiting this has me excited all over again for the moment they wake up. Funny how I’m so ready for a little time to myself when it’s their bedtime in the evening, and yet so very, very ready to greet them when morning’s come! (They slept in a couple of days ago, actually. I only let them sleep in because Anthony wouldn’t let me wake them up. “But … but … now is the time I’m supposed to get to snuggle them!” That’s my life right there, not the commute that came most readily to mind the last few weeks. Love it!)

  9. January 27, 2015 at 6:50 am

    We do need to remind ourselves to appreciate all the “good times,” don’t we? They hurtle by, barely noticed in the rush hour of “have-tos” and “shoulds” and we don’t realize they have passed until we’re standing on the sidewalk, watching the exhaust fading in the distance.

    (really, really long and involved metaphor that kids grow up really, really fast, Deb. Cherish them.)

  10. January 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

    You’re spot on: We don’t need to be perfect to be just right.

  11. January 27, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Absolute perfection.

  12. January 27, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Aw….you “clean up” real nice, Sweetie! And thanks for letting us know what’s been going on “lately”…Hope that commute is a bit more bearable…It’s important to take a minute or two out of our crazy, hectic days and “see life through P’s eyes” sometimes…Kids keep us “connected/grounded”….at least they do for me… Have a good week, Deb!! 🙂

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