She bends at the waist leaning over the kitchen table to hug me. Her long blonde ponytail drops into my lap as she wraps her long, lean, 17 year old arm around my shoulder. “Good night mom.”
This almost never happens.
“I love you baby. You should feel so good about what you did today. I’m so proud of you.” I kiss her hair.
She presented tech sessions at the annual leadership conference for the large school district in which I work. She had administrators, teacher leaders, and the superintendent of instruction in her sessions. I was not with her, but colleagues remarked all afternoon on how well spoken, poised, and prepared she was. She got a lot of conversation started.
“NO, I’m proud of you, momma. You do so much good.” She answers. And she’s still hugging me.
I notice. Believe me, I notice!
“Thank you,” I manage, feeling the lump in my throat and a burn starting to grow behind my eyes. I smell her skin as she stays close another moment.
“I love you momma. Good night.”
So often its just “Night” and off to her room early where the light stays on for hours, but she doesn’t come out again. Or worse, slammed door, “Stop,” she yells, disappearing behind her walls, sticky thick frustration pouring out across our small apartment. It stays on everything it touches; arms, clothing, shoes, reminding me for days of the painful disquiet that pervades our life together now. An aching disconnect so real you can’t just walk away from it.
But tonight is different. My heart smiles so big I can’t contain the largeness of it. My eyes fill and spill over with tears of . . . What? Gratitude.
These precious fleeting momentous moments. I’ll take every one and hold it gently and carefully and turn it over to look at closely like so much fineness, a seashell perfection made so by the washing of the tide over and over again and again.
It’s what love is – moments where connection reaches across the borders of ourselves to touch one another.