known, loved, seen.

So this is the new year. I return Mexico Home after a month away in the winter wonderland also known as Minnesota. Our children ambush me the way they always do when someone returns home: wildy, boisterously, joyfully. I can’t move for a minute I’m squished so tight smack in the middle of their collective bear hug. I don’t even realize how much I’ve missed them until now that I’m right here laughing with them again.

Then as soon they appear they disappear, back to practicing a choreography they’re preparing to perform. I can’t help but giggle at Arturo’s awkward tween boy dance moves, and I can’t help but swell with pride and amazement as I watch Lucia dance every step perfectly, but it’s Cristina who I notice most. My sweet Cristina, who had packed a little fairy doll in my suitcase before I left, telling me it would make me remember her every time I saw it. Thank you darling, I had told her, but I’ll be thinking about you all the time, whether or not I have a fairy to help me remember.

I notice Cristina now because she’s staring at me, a little shyly but mostly just pure happy. Her Momma’s home again. I see that she’s looking at me wondering if I’m looking at her too, and indeed I am.  I beam bright and she beams back at me, and we stay that way for a long time. Her dance moves are all off beat, she moves left as everyone else moves right, but she’s smiling proud because she sees me smiling proud at her first.

I’m her person, you see. I’m the one she feels safe enough to cry in front of, close enough with to tell her secrets to, accepted enough to be absolutely silly around. I know she’s been well cared for this month, but now as I watch her light up in my gaze I also know she’s been lonely for this—to be seen.