Sunday, June 15, 2014

Through the Window

Forgive me if I've shared this before. It's one of my favorites.


Another favorite.
Earlier today I was waiting in line at Michael's (behind a woman who was clearly delusional in her adamant insistence the 16x20 matted wood frame she was carrying was on clearance for $6.99, but kudos for looking for that bargain) when I saw a man holding the hands of two small children walk by.  The sun glistened off his freshly-shaved head and the small children he had in tow seemed perfectly content to just be near him.  I saw this trio and my heart tightened a little.  I was instantly less annoyed by the crazy woman and the fact that I can NEVER find 12x12 sheets of vinyl anywhere but Amazon.  My eyes threatened to leak as I watched this little group turn a bit and head in the door to find me.  As a chorus of "Mommy! We found you!" rang throughout the craft store (everyone should be greeted as enthusiastically after every 15 minute separation) as Sweet Girl and Little Man came to join me in line.  And I was happy.  I was happy because what I had seen through the window was a glimpse of my world and it was a beautiful view.
And another.
But what I saw through the window is only a tiny bit of the full story.  Seeing the man with the kids is just the surface view.  It's like every astronaut assuming the Earth is just a celestial ornament painted of blue and green and flocked with cotton.  It looks pretty, but there's a lot more to it.  The surface view is the amalgamation of millions of years worth of seemingly tiny inconsequential environmental and human interactions.  It is the end result of the world's history, and just like the view I saw through window was beautiful it's actual more complex than that.  What I saw through the window didn't show how hard that shiny-headed man works to provide for this family.  It didn't tell the story of how he would - and mostly does - just about anything for the children attached to the small hands he was holding.  You can't see the phone calls to insurance, the trips to the pediatric dentist (!),  or the time spent shoe shopping.  It doesn't show how early he gets up to make lunches for those two, or how he often remarked that the best part of his days were driving his kids to and from school.  What I saw through the window didn't tell anything of the phone calls and FaceTimes that made him happy when he was in far off places.  I couldn't see all the times he has "super"ed those two children or any of the sacrifices big and small that he makes for them.  How he held their hands didn't show how he carries them in his heart everyday.  You can't see that through the window.  But it's there.  It's the end result of our family history. 
Great dads make great Papas.
Here's proof of that.
And I wouldn't be able to appreciate what I saw through the window today if it weren't for my own father holding my hand (just a few, barely appropriate - you know, cause I'm so young) a number of years ago.  If someone were to look through a window at my family all together back when we all lived together, they would see my parents and my siblings.  Usually we had a good time, sometimes, like most families, we didn't, and more often than is normal we were in Florida.  But whatever view you would have of us through the window wouldn't tell you about the man with the beard and the - ahem - interesting hair line.  You wouldn't see how he rarely did not have a question and an answer about anything new he witnessed.  How he would pass down his curiosity to his children so they could carry on the proud tradition of making up plausible, mostly grounded on sound logic, answers to random questions.  You couldn't see or hear the grumbled under-the-breath near-curses he uses in the lifelong battle against all objects inanimate.  Many people do not realize there is a war being waged to bend these inanimate objects to his will, but his children carry on the good fight as we have all beaten back - often through sheer force of will - the onslaught of things that just don't realize they aren't doing what we want them to.  No one would see through the window that this man, who had two daughters and a son, did not EVER tell his girls that they should not be able to use tools.  As a matter of fact, he encouraged it.  And it is thanks to this attitude and his patient tutelage that I can replace a toilet, amateurishly diagnose car problems, change a tire, and take on foolish DIY projects.  Even more importantly, it is thanks to his good sense I know when it's better to take pride out of the question and actually enlist the help of a professional.   When discussing a home warranty with my sister, I referred to it as my "Dad away from Dad" because it would be the help I needed when I couldn't do it myself and Dad was physically too far away.  He taught us all to be independent but appreciate the company of others.  He taught us that having faith and asking questions are not mutually exclusive.  He taught us that trying and failing is how you find out what is important.  That is my own version of millions of years worth of memories and moments that make up what is beneath the surface.  And it is the end result of that history that I am able to be a part of, and appreciate, the view I saw through the window today. 
Happy Father's Day to my dad, my husband, my brother, my grandfather, all my uncles and cousins, and everyone else out there who are a part of someone's view through the window!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah! My name is Cameron Von St. James and I had a quick question for you! I was wondering if you could email me at your earliest convenience at cvonstjames AT gmail DOT com :-) I greatly appreciate your time!!

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