I See You
5 years, 5 children, 5 places we called home
Paul and I are affiliate marketers. Paid links may be included in this post
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
But that isn't what we have had.
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—
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 you.
And every time I see you,
I love you more.