Father and child asleep on the floor

I See You

reflections written by jordan

5 years, 5 children, 5 places we called home

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It's everyone's dream, isn't it?

"Love at first sight."

Even those of us romantics

who know that "love at hindsight"

is more realistic,

and perhaps even more romantic—

even we long to have

love at first sight

every morning, waking up next to our beloved.

Wasn't that part of what marriage promised?

To have and to hold

and to wake up next to

every day.

But that isn't what we have had.

For richer?

So far it's been poorer.

In sickness more than health.

It's been a long five years

since we said those vows.

Vows meant to be the roots

of a strong, new, family tree—

a tree that began to grow

so soon after our wedding day,

and then stopped short

even more quickly.

Our first child gone before anyone knew she was there.

I can see us,

you holding me from behind

as I rocked with pain

on my mattress on the floor of the room

that nearly killed me too

less than a year later.

I don't remember much more

from that dark year

the year when our first daughter born alive

slipped into your hands,

the hands that clung desperately to a wife

withering away to almost nothing

with no answers from doctors or shrinks

only to finally realize

it was the room—

that first home, infested with deadly mold.

You saved me from it

once we knew what we were up against,

and in exchange for my life

we gave up ours together

for a good three months.

You sent me away to save me,

and as my mind came back

I missed you more and more—

missed waking up next to you,

missed seeing you.

Eventually we sorted out the wreckage

and moved into our second home

in the desert.

A literal desert in the southwestern United States,

and a metaphorical one

that dried us up and spit us out—

somehow stronger.

Our son was born there

and another nameless child

lost to unexplained miscarriage

before we moved again,

this time by choice.

Home number three

was the perfect in-between place

for child number five

to grow in my womb,

a perfect pregnancy

followed by a redeeming birth

in our fourth home.

We mark the end of our fifth year married here

in this fourth place we have called home,

but the quadplex, the house, the RV, and the apartment

have all just been places to lay our heads.

The fifth home on my mind is the real Home:


This morning of our fifth anniversary

I didn't wake up next to you,

but while our children all slept

I crept out to the living room

to see you,

lying on the floor,

blanket pulled over your head

to block the nightlight,

our son snuggled against your side

and oldest daughter on the couch.

I see you Daddy.

I see your sacrifices—

not just the ones people outside can see,

the long workdays or cheap meals,

but all the things they don't—

I see them.

Where they see three children

I count five,

and I know you haven't forgotten either.

Where they see rootlessness

as we wandered and lived

wherever we could

I see the roots you are sending down deep

to establish this new family tree

so that it will weather storms—

storms like the ones you and I

have already weathered together—

because you know they will come.

I see.

I see you.

And every time I see you,

I love you more.