Several years ago one of my daughters came to visit me at work to drop something off. In those few minutes that she was there, she witnessed me engaged in a few simple interactions with the patients I was caring for that day. I worked in a long term care facility at the time; this was the patients’ home and they loved seeing visitors-especially children.
Although she was only there for a few minutes that day, her perspective of seeing me at work planted an image in her head. Several weeks later her school teacher sent some of her work home. This picture was included…
My job as seen through the eyes of a four year old. It seemed pretty incredible to me that this is how she saw things that day. It was certainly not what I would have described through my 37 year old eyes. I was actually feeling quite harried and tired. Yet in that moment it was her truth. Her mother was helping people in a very Herculean way.
And even at 4 years old through her drawing, she illuminated a point to me that has drawn me back in so many times since.
People that care and love you in a deeply honest way, have a perspective of you wherein you will always be the “good guy” in their story. Their opinion does not waver. They will find ways to make you always look your best. Because that is what they see.
It’s like being woken up at 3am. Hair sticking up, disoriented, emotional guard down, not much rational higher-level thinking happening. And the person next to you still looks at you in the same light they did when you were fully dressed and coherent at dinner the night before.
These are the people you invest in. It’s unconditional.
Over the last few months I’ve taken on more responsibility at work. More tasks, more technology, more learning and more worrying. I’ll be honest and say that I fall neatly into the Type A, perfectionist, over achiever, feels ultimately responsible for everything that happens category. Yet I love the reason I’m doing it….it’s something I just can’t get enough of! In many moments though, the overthinking and fretting about details makes me feel like a wild woman running around with hands waving frantically in the air. In fact, I almost think people can see it or sense it in me.
Like clockwork, I have these few people who always see me at my best. These girls are looking at the 3am Amanda and saying “what a great day! Get some rest and we will do it again tomorrow”.
And I’m thinking “seriously???? How can you ever want to come back after that day we just had?”
They see past the blips and the burps and the sweaty armpits. They see past what I look like at 3am to the deeper threads holding us all together. They know I care. I know they care. And all of the superficial foolishnesss we get tangled up in melts away.
3am is real. It’s the most real anyone can be. Vulnerable. Maybe even naked depending on how you sleep.
Someone once said to me “I want to see the Amanda no one else sees”.
Initially I thought “but I spend so much time trying to squash her down..all of that effort can’t go to waste”.
Yet, really, 3am Amanda has given me my deepest and strongest connections.
Not everyone deserves to see you at 3am. Those moments are selectively reserved for the most sacred of hearts in our circle. You are your most YOU in those hours.
And, yes, mothers do have 8 (er…4) arms. Or, at least, our children think we do.