I swim before I go to work most days. I use a waterproof lap counter on my finger, which means instead of mentally keeping track of what lap I'm on I can push a button each time I reach the shallow end of the pool and I can let my mind wander. It's a nifty little gadget and one I'm glad I found several years ago.
The other morning while sitting on the edge of the pool and fastening the lap counter to my finger I noticed for the first time that the little wave logo on it is really made from the letters S and C (for "Sport Count"). Now I can't unsee the letters.
It reminded me of when years ago a friend pointed out the arrow hidden in plain sight on the Fed Ex logo. He wondered how much money they spent to design that arrow that so many people probably missed. Once you see the arrow you can't not see the arrow.
I wonder sometimes when I look at my kids what I'm seeing or not seeing. They are not too different from one day to the next, but when you jump back in photos by months and years the changes are startling. Quinn is simultaneously in my mind very big and very little. I think part of the charm of raising a boy is being able to scoop up someone in your arms who one day will likely turn around and be able to do the same to you. I look at him and see my baby, but also hints of the man he may grow to be.
I watch Mona bent over her work and recognize the look of concentration on her face from when she first put a paintbrush to paper as a toddler. It's a look I can imagine someone falling in love with her becoming enamored with one day.
Lately we've been having Aden come to the violin store after school to do her homework. There are fewer distractions for her there than at home. She makes popcorn in the store machine and snacks away while doing research on her dad's computer across the room from me.
She's so grown up anymore. Aden's 13, and she's now my height and shoe size. She can borrow my clothes and walk herself to Target or a friend's house and she's been on two overnight field trips out of state without us. When she hugs me she tries to make herself shorter than I am because regardless of how much she's grown or how the world sees her she still wants to be my little girl.
When I look across the room at Aden sometimes I see the little girl she used to be, and other times the woman she will become. I struggle a bit to see who she is now.
It's amazing the things right in front of us that we can see or not see.