This is a post for Sarah Bessey's synchroblog, "What is saving your life right now?". You can read about the synchroblog, find out how you can participate, and read other entries here.
It's their faces that save me.
Christopher's, when I'm grumbling to myself about how he's "already" awake, at 5:30 or 6:00 from a night's sleep, or from his nap after only 40 minutes. I look into his crib, where he's once again on a mission to figure out exactly what these things attached to his feet are, and he instantly forgets about his all-absorbing toes and bestows on me a look of the purest joy that I have ever seen. Clear blue eyes alight, toothless mouth agape, little cheeks round with the effort of communicating so much happiness. It's hard to stay grumpy in the face of pure gratitude. And then again, it's Christopher's face that saves me when he's wailing on his blanket on the floor, not because he's hurt or tired or hungry but just because he has recently discovered that this makes Mom more likely to come and play with him. I snap at him "No, Christopher, you may not do that!" even though I know that he doesn't understand. I'm angry at myself for yelling at my tiny tiny child, but he just looks up at me from the floor with a happy smile because I stopped what I was doing and talked to him. His happy little face: it breaks me, and then it saves me.
Landon's, when I interrupt his homework to think aloud, again, about the hard, beautiful, messy things that life is handing to us. Discouraged, feeling desperation creeping upon me, I ask him, "do you think that I can even do this?" That's when he smiles up at me, his eyes meeting mine squarely, full of the light of his confidence in and love for me and says, simply, "yes." He is one of the people in the world who knows me best. He has seen me work, and be pregnant, and go to school, all at once and separately. If he says that I can do this, then I can do it - this abundant, unnerving, bewildering life. It's Landon's face that saves me again this morning when I've messed up, scolding him as though I'm his mother instead of his wife. Even though I'm the one stewing while he runs to the store for diapers - stewing when I'm not the one who got hurt - when I apologize he smiles at me. And when he tells me that it's alright, I know that he's already erased it from his thoughts of me.
These faces. They save me.