"For the last time, would you please stop bothering me? Go away....we'll read it later....just..let..me..finish...."
I turned away from the simmering soup to scold with eyes too, but her sunken face, those tears welled up, that fallen mouth trying hard not to burst into weeping, braced me.
This wasn't the first time that day my girl was pushed into sadness and rejection. Earlier while playing outside I overheard the sister scold, "Why are you such a klutz?". This time though she hadn't cried, she just came inside for a hug and asked for a snack. But I knew she was distracting herself from feeling rejected.
For a brief moment I tried to justify myself and my words with thoughts that motherhood is hard some days, that I was exhausted, that I was trying to get dinner on the table for them....yes, yes, here I was selflessly giving to them and couldn't be bothered.
I realized at once the contradiction of that last excuse...giving, but not really Giving. I once studied long and hard principles like non-contradiction and others. My life is so different now than it was back then, so...practical. Sometimes when I stop and observe myself I wonder that I ever wrote and defended "The Necessity of the Existence of the Agent Intellect" against the likes of Kant and Descartes before a board of intellectuals. Oh how fascinated I was by the faculties of the mind. How smart I was back then. But now here I am, older and supposedly wiser, discarding reason to justify myself.
Here I give...but can't be bothered.
Sometimes all it takes is the look on my children's faces to reveal the real truth about myself and so many other things. Once I saw her beautiful face all swollen with sadness I realized instantly how I had failed. Images of Pharisees, of people who claim to give while holding back...and of the sunken face of Jesus as He longs for them to really give. I saw myself in the hypocrites. I saw Jesus in my daughter, who needed not a mother to neglect immediate duties to read a story, but a gentle, loving response to her request. Soft words and the look of kindness, those things which are real gifts to a child. All she needed were those things, and I didn't give.
I see the face of Jesus in her, it is easy. But she must see Him in me.