I used to help with my whole body
My whole being.
I’d welcome with a smile and the bend of my knees to greet the child.
Children would approach with an ease.
They’d hug, they’d pull on my sleeve, they’d grab my hand.
Now there is this awkward moment that stands between us.
If I greet them at a door, we stand 6 feet apart.
If I greet them through the screen, no amount of leaning forward allows me to see all I want to see.
It feels like my eyes are my only tool.
And my eyes are tired.
I used to watch with a lot more of me.
I’d watch by listening to every word they say.
I’d watch by seeing the way they moved…the way they paused….the way they played.
Listening and watching are only feasible if my WiFi is spot on and they don’t jump out of screen.
I showed them I was watching and listening in different ways too.
I’d lean forward.
I’d pat their back.
When they were timid or sad, I’d whisper my response instead of full voice.
When they were excited and proud, I’d exclaim my response and dance with them.
I communicated, I care, in all these little ways.
They feel big now.
I want them back.
None of this feels like enough.
My helping feels insufficient.
I want to use more than my eyes.
And not only are my eyes tired, but my body is too.
Over-use and under-use makes us hurt.
I want to go back to when helping felt fluid.
When my eyes and my ears,
My hands and my voice,
The way I moved my posture….
All worked together.
Someday soon, I hope to use all of me again.
I look forward to hugs and high fives.
I look forward to the elimination of the pause at the door.
When a child doesn’t have to hesitate to come closer.
When a screen doesn’t interrupt what they are trying to tell me.
Until then, my eyes hurt.
But they can hurt
If it gives me a moment with you.