I saw him.
Over the weekend we went to our nephew Bobby’s 5th birthday party. It was held at a gymnastics studio. There were at least 20 kids. The parents sat in a little loft above the action, chatting it up. I had to be down on the floor with Riley. The children were divided into three groups, and the groups rotated through separate activities. Seth was not in our group.
In order to do the rings, a child had to climb up onto a mat that came up to my waist. Then onto another. By the time a kid had the rings in their hands they were easily ten feet off the ground, being spotted very closely by the gymnastic professional.
Riley’s initial reaction (per usual) was to say “no.” She didn’t want to do it. I told her it was her choice. She didn’t have to. When almost everyone in our group had gone, she whispered, “I think I want to do it.”
“Okay then. You can do it.” I said.
It was her turn and as I lifted her onto the mat she started to cry.
“No! I don’t want to!”
But she did want to. I knew she did.
The gymnastics girl said I could get up there too. Both of us would keep our hands on her. I promised we wouldn’t let go. Riley cried but she grabbed hold of the rings and we pushed her gently back and forth about three times. As we let her down she was beaming.
Next we went to the pit full of foam blocks. Riley’s 8 year old cousin Callie took over, holding her hand and encouraging her to jump in. Callie is an absolute doll, always looking out for my girl.
I happened to scan the room, and saw Seth way over on the other side, attempting to scale the big mat for the rings. He looked like a little puppy trying to scramble onto a high couch. Someone finally gave him a push on his bottom to help him up.
Back to Riley. She’s swimming through the foam blocks. She's smiling.
When I look up again, Seth is grabbing the rings, taking his first swing. He’s high in the air, and he’s searching for me. Our eyes connect and his light up.
When he jumps off the big mat he looks for me again. I do a big clappy dance for him and he pulls his hands in fists to his shoulders, huge grin.
I remember being little.
Look at me! Look at me!
If mommy didn’t see, does it even count?
How many of his moments have I missed because I’ve had to be so focused on her?
What if I hadn’t looked up?
But I did look up.
I saw you buddy!
It was a great day.