When I Look At You, This Is What I See

Our little home, my sanctuary. The bedroom walls hold the sound of my laughter, the depth of my tears. They hold my dreams, my doubts, and the entirety of who I am.

When I look at the sun spots on my mother’s face, I do not see damaged skin; I see long days spent outside on adventures.

When I see my father’s pain sneak up on him in forms of aches and strains, I do not see disabilities; I see the weight of protecting six hearts in the safe place he created for us.

When I look at my mother’s brittle nails, I do not see neglect; I see the hands of a woman who would rather spend the money on anyone but herself.

When I look at my father’s grey hairs, I do not see age; I see years, years of worrying about those he holds dearest.

I assure them, “I’m okay, you need not worry.” A parent’s job simply does not stop when they are looking up at adults that were once restless toddlers.

When I hear my mother’s laugh, I notice it’s a song that’s played all of my life; never changing its tune.

When I hear a man try to give me advice, I know it will never be as authentic and wise as the words my father speaks to me. Sometimes I wonder if classrooms are missing a professor. Sometimes I wonder if more people would benefit from his words.

When I see my mother cry, I do not see weakness; I see a woman who has been strong for too many people for just a little too long.

When I see my father treat my mother how he does, I do not see a sappy love story told over and over; I see the love story everyone is after, the one we’re all chasing.

When I see my father get protective, I do not get annoyed; I see a boy who was not protected by the ones who were supposed to do just that. I see a man who refuses to live by the examples laid out for him. I see a man who you will not cross.

When I see my mother’s blind optimism, I do not see foolishness; I see what society needs a little bit more of.

Year by year, a new wrinkle appears. I do not see time; I see a roadmap to the memories from an enchanting childhood. I see a direct history of the making of who I am.

I see my life.

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