She looked at me from her spot on the couch, head downcast and eyes barely visible through her thick lashes. I was harsh and had wounded her little soul. Her innocent but wounded look cut my heart.
Dinner preparations laid aside, I came close, not knowing how, but hopeful to reconnect with Catherine. She seemed shy, withdrawn, just as unsure as I was as to how to be restored.
It was the end of the day... a day that started for me at five am like all the mornings this week as Jack stretches his night feeds to (almost) morning. A second day in which Camille (our little soldier battling H1N1 this year, a stomach virus, a miserable diaper rash) woke with itchy red hives from head to toe. It was the end of the day and I was feeling it.
I had put Catherine and Camille into the shower for a little "splash and play" time while I made dinner, but Catherine was out scarcely before water even dripped down her face. Frustrated, I spoke harshly to her. Fortunately for Catherine (and me), Erik stepped in and had Catherine sit on the couch with a pile of books until dinner was ready. That was when I noticed her eyes.
Those eyes that said, "Mommy, I want us to be right with each other, but I don't know how." It was my fault, I knew. I had set us apart. My heart broke; dinner suddenly seemed trivial. I wanted nothing more than to be forgiven, welcomed back, restored. I walked over to the couch knelt down in front of her.
Do you want to talk about what happened? She nodded.
How are you feeling? A little sad, or something.
Why do you think you're feeling this way? Mommy angry.
We talked through the sequence of events - how she saw things and how I saw things that got us here, to this place. I told her where I went wrong. Her eyes lift. I tell her what I should have done. I tell her how sad I feel, because I was angry and spoke harshly to her and wasn't careful with her heart. I ask her to forgive me. Little arms instantly wrap tightly around my neck. Little eyes look intent and hopeful, eager to move forward together.
The day is over. Dinner fed, children in bed. The night is a pause at the end of a full day.
I look over to the empty couch now, remembering. I kneel down again by the couch, this time with Erik. We pray for our Jack's sleep, for Camille's rash, for Catherine to know that while we are flawed parents, God isn't. In these moments, the joyful and the challenging, may we point our children to Him.