Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I didn't realize it, but before I got glasses I was actually missing out on something. Well, besides, you know, vision. I'm talking about the little smudgy fingerprints that children leave on lenses.

If the smudge is directly in your field of vision, you probably clean it off right away, while snapping something like, "Can you just keep your hands off my glasses? Please!"

But sometimes a small fingerprint can be left just on the edge of a lens, as you're kissing them goodbye and they reach up to pat your cheek or they reach around your neck for a hug so sincere that one wrapped-around hand bumps the edge of your frame. And that smudge stays there. Watching as cars pass you on the rain-drenched highway, throwing sheets of water into the path of your busy wipers. Watching as you fumble your way into the office with coffee mug, water bottle, briefcase, purse, and ID card tucked and wedged under the arms of your bulky coat. Waiting while your computer starts and as you sort through the papers that were left on your chair after you went home last night.

And then, as the transition into the office day settles into your routine, you sit in front of the lit computer screen, and you take your first calm breath of the morning, that's when the left-behind smudge of your little girl calls attention to itself. A silent assertion that you are important. You are more than the recipient of those papers on your chair. You are her mother.

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