You wake. The rustling starts in your room - I feel it more than hear it. And then the squeak of the hinges from your bedroom door fills the silence. I hear your feet slapping against the tile floor before I see you. And I don't know yet how our morning will go. You come around the corner and stop to stare at me for a few seconds. I drop whatever I'm doing and turn to you with a toothy smile and open arms and tell you how happy I am that you are awake. Some mornings you climb into my lap. Those are my favorite mornings because those mornings are easy.
Other mornings your eyebrows furrow in my direction. Your shoulder turns as I reach for a hug and I see the anger in your eyes. On those mornings you make me work harder for that smile I love so much. But that smile comes, now. If I work. Always.
This is progress.
I've studied you. For four years and seven months I've watched.
There is one lesson, one most important lesson, that I have learned about you.
You feel love through service.
It took me four years to figure out this truth in you. Four years is much too long to find a truth as important as this, and for that I am sad. But I am happy that it did not take longer. I am happy I took the minutes, the hours, the days, the months, and the years to ponder about you.
It is not really in my nature to serve. And you are good for me in that way. You are making me into a better person because I care enough about you to change myself. The progress is slow. But it is moving.
It is not really in my nature to serve, even though my days are filled with serving. But I see now that folding your laundry means little to you today. Much greater is the time I take away from the folding to help you reach that toy.
To fill your cup with fresh water.
To tie that string around your toy car.
To read that storybook.
To serve you in ways that you feel,
ways that you see,
ways that you understand.
So that is why, on the days when you awake with furrowed eyebrows and anger in your eyes, I dance in service circles around you. That is why, when I see that my service has erased your furrowed eyebrows and replaced the anger in your eyes with joy and love, you see my fist pump the air.
Because I love you.
Because I want you to know that.
Because I want you to feel that.
And that moment when my heart connects with yours and I know you've felt my love?
That is a beautiful moment.