Early Sunday morning, I sleepily watched Gary snuggle with one of the kids, both of them barely awake, a tiny hand curled against Gary’s stubbly face. The little hand patted Gary’s cheek affectionately, and I smiled, wondering how to put into words the beauty and tenderness of what I was watching, the dim sunlight just starting to peek through the blinds and touch their faces.
There are moments I am painfully aware of how much they love each other, moments I am speechless that anyone would try so hard to tear them apart. I watched how comfortable they were together, how trusting, how peaceful. I was smiling and near tears at the same time, the intimacy of the moment tinged by the awareness of the kids’ vulnerability, and how easily some will abuse that, how willing some are to twist it, crush it, the very ones most trusted to protect them.
As I was thinking these things, that little hand gave Gary’s cheek one more soft pat, then slid down to intertwine fingers with mine, comforting, gentle, loving, and held on tight to my hand.
I thank them for opening parts of my heart and introducing me to sides of myself I didn’t know existed. I thank them for letting me watch them sleep so peacefully, thank them for the stories they share, thank them for the questions they ask to fill in their pictures of me. There is nothing more flattering, nothing more humbling, than the unquestioning love and trust of a child.