I remember years ago when I realized how much of my job as a mother was ‘watching.’

“MOM!  Look!  Watch me!”

My children had a way of repeating that — LOUDLY — until my eyes fixed on them, watching them dance or somersault or whatever.

Last week Jake and I were in Spain with all of our family, 15 of us:  four daughters, three sons-in-law (one Brazilian, another Ethiopian), and six grandgirls from Spain, Canada, Japan, and North Carolina. It was a tiring-fun week, and interesting, the mix of cultures, languages, personalities, preferences, lifestyles and ages.

No one was clamoring for me to watch, but my role of ‘watching’ continued. And I loved it, watching everyone swim in the fun pools and the Sea, enjoy ice cream, collect rocks on the beach for a ‘beauty contest’, celebrate our Four Fathers (it was Father’s Day) and the grandgirls’ birthdays, crafts and games and books, etc.

I loved watching my daughters serve us all, and their daughters love each other. Nine-year-old H. taught six-year-old R. to swim.  Six-year-old F. helped four-year-old I. with her sticker art.  And holding and feeding the babies S. and A. who kept waving  “Hola.”

It gave me joy to watch it all, like watching a stunning sunset or a world cup soccer game, which we also did.

But ‘watching’ is not just passive.

Not just about me and my joy.


I overheard this conversation between H. and her mom.

H:  Mom! Mom!  (sister) F.’s hurt!

Mom:  What happened?  Why is F. crying?

H:  We were playing bow and arrows [imaginary].

Mom answered something like this: H, you are the oldest, you know better than to play rough with your sister.

H defended herself:  F. wasn’t playing.  She was just watching us.

Mom:  So … how did she get hurt?

H: Well, R. shot me with an arrow. So I shot her back. Then she died and she fell down on top of F. and that’s what happened.


Like I said, ‘watching’ is not just about my joy. Sometimes, like F., you can get hurt ‘watching’ because real watching gets close to people.

Real watching has a fierce love in it.


I was in the pool with granddaughter I. and I knew I needed to watch her closely because she doesn’t know how to swim. But I got distracted. It was Jake who saw her, floundering in the water, and snatched her up.

I had a hard time sleeping that night thinking what could have happened on my watch.


This week I am in Dallas; my 93-year-old dad broke his hip. It gives me joy to be here, to watch/care for Dad in his weakness and need.  And to watch my family gather around — a reunion of sorts — a mix of personalities and preferences and lifestyles coming together to share the ‘watch,’ combining our fierce love.

I like to think about God watching over us.  I don’t need to beg Him to watch. He never grows tired nor gets distracted like I do. He watches over us with a great fierce love. He is the God who sees.

And I wonder:  does what He sees give him joy?

I think so.







3 thoughts on “Watching

  1. Always something encouraging, uplifting for reading to the end. Thanks Sarah – what an astonishingly big, varied, growing family! Blessings all round. Happy Fourth – Prayers for your dad and you as you care for him. God speed, and protect! Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sarah, as always, for your insightful writings; and thanks, also, for being there for Andy. I know he’s loving having you there, as is the “other” Sarah Horner. We all love you so! – Auntie Celie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful Sarah.
    He watching over Israel slumbers not nor sleeps!
    Praise God for his watch care over us. Praying for your dad. Love, Jenni

    Liked by 1 person

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