The morning started off as if any other: the tapping toes while pulsing my coffee beans (the extra 30 seconds feel like agony but the taste outweighs my impatience) the scrambling of ensuring I am in physical possession of my ID badge, the mental checklist during the commute of “remember to pick up…., you should call…., don’t forget….” The half-listening to DJ editorialize a political candidate. I was my usual 10 minutes behind. Deciding (uncharacteristically! Don’t judge me!) to park in an “off-limits” lot, I accessed a hospital door infrequently accessed by me…and ran into one of my first patients from this position.
I work primarily, solely with children.
And she had grown. Her hair was cut more adult-like, she was toting a stylish purse, as if
remarking to the world her more mature status, and the manner in which she carried herself was clear: HERE I AM SUN! GET READY! I AM GOING TO TOUCH YOU TODAY.
And immediately I smiled.
When her eyes located mine, indeed, the world was caught off guard. Without hesitation and inhibition, she now girlishly skipped over to me and threw her arms around me. Such unabandoned affection, such physical affirmation first thing in the morning was so alarmingly stirring all rational thought left me. In the moment, all my poised preparations for the day leaked away, and my brain dumped that recognition of being “behind. “
Because she remembered me. Because I mattered to her.
There was no behind. There was no not enough. There was no must do.
Whether you live alone or have a family, our days too often begin with a lack of awareness of the meat of our interactions. It’s not because I am single that I am not touched in the morning. I gather that even if I had children, the bubble would preside, articulating: “Don’t touch! You will DETER me!” We mend a robotic imperialism that does not allow us to engage, experience, connect, live.
If I had not been late, behind, I would have never experienced this creature, on the cusp of young womanhood, and would not have been touched.

When do you know that you matter?


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