I saw your face, teacher on the sidewalk.

I was dropping off my little and I saw your warm and genuinely welcoming face when you greeted him once he was out of the car. There was a fleeting change of your face that happened just seconds before that, though… so subtle, most eyes wouldn’t catch it.

But I saw it.

Seconds before you greeted him, your face was somber. Pensive. You were thinking of something else, your mind far away from the steady stream of cars before you. You had a tiny, six-second break between doors opening, and I wondered where your mind went.

Maybe to today’s to-do list or your lesson plans or an impending meeting with an unhappy parent.

But I wondered if maybe, just maybe, your heart wasn’t on campus at all.

Maybe it was on how you and your spouse left the house in an argument this morning.

Maybe it was because he slept on the couch last night. Again.

Maybe you have a child who has a doctor’s appointment today that you won’t get to go to because you have to teach my child what sound T and H make together.

Maybe you dropped your child off at college and your soul is hurting.

Maybe you realized you left your checkbook and urgent bills on the counter or you’re worried your daughter didn’t grab her lunch box because she was running out the door late to catch her bus.

Maybe you are worried about your aging mother in Ohio or the endless financial strain you’ve been living under as a single mom.

Maybe you have a teenager who refuses to speak to you or a toddler who is allergic to something you can’t figure out.

Maybe you’re worried about your dog that you’re probably going to have to make a heartbreaking decision about soon… the dog you’ve had since you were in college.

Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night or for the last six months since your new baby arrived.

Maybe you wish you chose a different job. A different path. A different life.

I don’t know what you were thinking or what was on your heart, but I want to thank you.

Thank you for opening the car door and choosing my son over the burden of your heart. In that moment, you made him feel seen and wanted and loved and important. You being present for him at 7:30 a.m. makes it easier for me to drive off and leave him every day. You being present for him requires you to sacrifice so much of yourself in such a split second of time.

And I saw you do it today.

You’ll do it again tomorrow, and I’ll pray for you as I see you make that choice. You’ll keep making that choice and I’ll keep believing that wherever that loved one is that you’re having to put on your heart’s back burner so you can love on my child, he or she is also feeling seen and wanted and loved and valued by whoever is opening the door for them.

Thank you.

For the rest of my life, thank you for choosing my child.

Making someone feel seen is such holy, sacred work. You do it so well.

This post originally appeared on Jill Windham Writes.


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Jill Windham

Jill Windham is a wife, mother, writer, and pastor in North Alabama. She is passionate about her family, her Aussiedoodle, naps, caffeine, and chips & salsa. She and her husband, Rod, have been married for 22 years and still really like each other. Jill loves to celebrate for small reasons and connect with moms who are worn out and looking for real talk about the raw and real sides of motherhood. You can follow her writing on Facebook at Jill Windham Writes, or read her blog at www.jillwindham.com.