I doodled with my kids this week, Christmas and winter themed pictures. Gift boxes. Trees. Snowmen. As I laid down a crudely drawn ornament on the table for Asher to color in, Alex marveled at the works of my hands. You’re a great artist, Mama.
Oh, Alex, I am many things. Artist is not one of them.
But, to his untrained, eight-year-old eyes and his tender mama’s boy heart, I am great.
He is wrong, but he doesn’t know any better.
Last night, our kids spent time with their best friends and when I went up to bundle them into coats for the ride home, I found Lila and her friend had made a sort of makeshift mistletoe on the wooden bunk of a bunk bed. Complete with Dora the Explorer stickers and torn pieces of paper with drawings and notes, they giggled and pointed to their favorite scribbles while I gathered Asher into my arms.
Kissy, kissy, means true love… I overheard one of the girls swoon in a sing-song tone as I walked from the room. Walking down the stairs, I smiled at their innocence, but my heart was giving them a great big eye roll.
My daughter and her friend, like most elementary school girls, link true love to a kiss. They are young and tenderhearted. And they are wrong.
I’ve written about love here, and this isn’t really about love at all. It’s about knowing, or thinking that we do, the things that we actually do not.
We are heading into winter, into the the time of the year when the darkness creeps over the stretches of my route home, earlier and earlier and the roads I travel by heart are shifting with shadows. I begin to question what my heart knows and what my heart doesn’t.
Earlier this week, I began to cry while opening empty bins where I expected to find more than a decades worth of Christmas ornaments, but instead of fingerprint snowmen and First Christmas baby pictures, I found empty tufts of tissue paper.
Two hours later, I uncovered the missing ornaments, packed by my own hands earlier this year, but placed in a different closet and fooling me to the point of despair.
I realize how deceptive even my own memory is.
I realize how more and more, I am just like Alex and my daughter and her friend.
In this life, I can learn from experiences and I can hold truths in my heart, but I am still like a child. I am often wrong and I am eternally naive.
However much knowledge and understanding I come to think I grasp, it’s all just shadows and tissue paper.
Greatness, as I understand it, is pale in comparison to what is truly great.
Love, as I know it, is just a shadow of the blinding light I’ll one day greet.