“Daddy! See what I can do?!”
Remember that? Remember those squeals of delight flooding the playground as our kids raced around, playing hard? But they often demanded our attention, they wanted to know, do you see me??
Children have this expectation, this anticipation of parents actually seeing them. Then the years of adolescence arrive and we hear the messages that they no longer are seeking us to “watch them.” In fact, we parents are often viewed as an embarrassment or an inconvenient necessity in their lives. Remember those days? (Oh if your in those days right now I say, bless you, it will all be ok).
I admit, I did this to my parents as well. A memory of my father driving his dream car, complete with wide fins did wonders to accentuate my complete perception of “nerd mobile”. My embarrassment ran so deep I would beg him to drop me off two blocks from school. Oh dear, sorry about that one Daddy!
Here’s the thing, I know that teens really do want us to see them, but somewhere between childhood and adolescence it becomes our acrobatic line to walk as we try to discern the encrypted clues that invite them to remember that we see them, we love them and that we are seeking the best for them.
How often do we transfer how we see, onto how God sees? Have you ever wondered, does God really see me? I have to admit, even though I’ve had hundreds of reminders from my Creator, there are times that this longing rises up and I wonder, “just wait one second, does God even see me?”
As many of you might know, Rick and I just returned from Oxford, England, where we celebrated our daughter’s graduation. Here is one more story I want to share with you. It happened in a British pub, at afternoon tea. It was God reminding me and another woman of how intimately we are seen, held and treasured.
She was dressed in a sari beautifully wrapped around her delicate body. He wore the traditional headdress of his native country India. Their daughter had made her way over to introduce herself as a friend who had spent the last year learning at the same institution with my daughter. When she left our table, I remember feeling this draw a gentle tugging to go and meet her parents.
And so of course I did.
We talked of our daughters, their respective journeys to this institution and of our own parental fears and joys. He spoke of the value of cultures combined, and she of her hopes of change for women in their country.
She asked where I was from and upon hearing where I live, she smiled and stated, “My nephew lived there until four years ago.” We shared the usual exchanges of people who realize they share an usual commonality, but this suddenly took a turn when out of the blue she asked me if I had ever been to a certain department, of a certain hospital, in a unique part of town.
Then I saw it – this rather mysterious moment right before me – it was her eyes, I had seen these before, and the intensity of her eyes held me in that place between past and present. The remnants of an ache inside was touched and reawakened, remembered…
Though this mother and I had never met before, it was her nephew that had been my father’s doctor seven years before. As many of you must know from experience, you never forget the doctor that looks you in the eye and explains that one of the people you love most in the world has cancer. At the time, I wanted this young doctor to change the diagnosis, just make it go away. But instead he sat and gently answered each and every question, times two and tenderly held our hopes and fears.
As I sat across the table from this mother, I asked questions of clarification as my mind was fighting with rationalization. She spoke of her nephew’s passion to fight cancer and still care for people. Of how he had been the child of her sister that use to run to her arms for extra hugs and how she would scoop him up to comfort him. We exchanged emails – we checked our facts – but some how we both knew that meeting one another was not about what was rational, rather it was about delivering a moment of hope that marked us both.
There I was, experiencing and celebrating my daughter’s significant life moment, wishing to share the moment with my beloved father who faced cancer as his final battle.
There was this woman across from me, experiencing and celebrating her daughter’s significant life achievement, all the while holding her nephew’s wonderings if his profession was really honoring his passions.
Our Creator was responding to the unspoken questions of do you see me, with a resounding, yes, I see you and I have a surprise for you both!
Her husband spoke words that lingered over us both, “It is good to notice that this is not chance that is holding this moment.”
I couldn’t agree more. It was so good to notice.
Parents, can we stay the course with our teens and hold the questions that they will not ask? Are we willing to risk letting them see how much we care about them?
I do not think it is by chance that you are your child’s parent. Do you have a story that would confirm this? I would love to hear it.