a look

April 9, 2014 § 11 Comments

In motherhood I have transcribed an entire language shaped with little more than a look. From across the table or playground, in a room full of strangers or snuggled beneath a book – there are conversations that occur without words. My children beg for space as loudly as they seek shelter, beckoning me near or pushing me away with a quiet plea.

This morning at school I pulled my car cautiously to the curb just shy of students gathering into class lines, honoring my daughter’s standing request to approach her day independently. Gone are early mornings of hesitant goodbyes or wide swinging waltzes down neighborhood sidewalks. She is efficient and particular about this practice, my daughter has mapped this moment of her day in her mind and I adhere to her need for space.

Most days I watch her with a carefully intentional casualness. My gaze falls just close enough to measure her movements for hints to the mystery of her thoughts, lonely for the cursory glance that fills my uncertainty with knowing. Today, rather than burying her eyes in the sidewalk or peeking to her peripheral to ensure her space, my daughter sought me with a smile.

Volumes of love in an unguarded gaze spoke of confidence and uncertainty, joy and wistfulness. An entire conversation twirled in the air between us before she said goodbye with a wave, her smile lingering in her absence.

Such a small gesture, a look, tethered to a lifetime of borrowed glances. A story strewn silently across the years.





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§ 11 Responses to a look

  • Andy says:

    Reminded me of a song. Have you heard Slipping Through My Fingers by Abba? If not, listen to the lyrics. It was written about Bjorn and Agnetha’s daughter as she left for school alone, one morning. With the sadness and wistfulness that comes with the realisation that their little girl is growing up and becoming independent.
    Something us parents can relate too, I guess,

    • Marie says:

      I am not familiar with the song, but I love the idea that someone has taken this universal experience and set it to music – a language that transcends differences and creates a shared experience. Thanks, Andy!

  • This is utterly beautiful work. Thank you.

  • slamdunk says:

    You paint quite a picture, and surely something to be treasured since you are cognizant enough to notice it. This story reminds me of once being that teen trying to push mom and dad as far away as possible. I hope that I mixed in a smile for them as well–as I don’t remember it if I did.

    I have always regretted my behaviors back in the day. My father would just laugh if we talked about that now (old Marine). Mom passed away many years ago, and it is too late to apologize. My only choice is to live better now with our kids.

    • Marie says:

      I love that you considered this from a child’s perspective with the clarity and appreciation of a parent.

      As for your mother and father, I imagine most parents lend forgiveness without apology long before a child is fully mindful of an error.

  • What a beautiful post, and something I’ve been in awe of for years. This post makes me crave motherhood… what a connection to have between a mother and child. The fact that emotions, ideas, and instructions can all be communicated with just the glance of an eye… that’s so beautiful.

    • Marie says:

      Like so many wishes, they come in their own time and evolve as we grow into our dreams. I didn’t imagine this dream for myself, but I can no longer imagine a life without the language of family.

  • As I read this one I could visualize a hard cover book, intended for parents, containing a collection of your works–of about the same length as this one–and accompanied by painted illustrations. I’d buy it.

    • Marie says:

      I have often hoped that years from now my children might find comfort and companionship in my experiences as they navigate the joys and worries of creating their own families. To imagine others might choose to join me in this experience among my thoughts is ever a wonder and blessing to me.

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