With all the distractions that surround, it’s easy, so often, for my eyes to wander beyond my babies – even when I hold them near or snuggle them tight.
I had a moment the other day though, where I had one in my arms, having just had a bottle, and the other leaning against me just so – always making sure to hold tight on my arm.
Gosh, what a relief to have them here. Beside me. Lying on me. Squeezing me tight.
I looked to my right. All I saw was pure innocence. A young one, happy to be beside mom, and staring back at me with bright eyes and the biggest grin.
I looked to my left. The baby pushed out the pacifier and gave me the deepest stare. Those beautiful, striking eyes. They pulled me in closer.
Studying me, intently, we couldn’t part from our immense gaze.
I don’t know how much time passed. Probably seconds. But it felt like minutes.
These little eyes. They see the beyond my own tired eyes and bags underneath. They don’t mind the wrinkles on my face or the thinning postpartum hair. These eyes see the depths of my soul. In my case, my children know the depths of my soul – they’ve been there.
Yes, I carried them for nine months, but now, they carry me. They carry me through so many parenting challenges, and so many joyous moments. They carry me through imagination and wonder. They let me see how much beauty exists in something that seems minuscule to me, but is so magical to them.
How could I have ever gotten to this point of forgetting to stop for a moment and use my eyes to see what they see? The glitter that’s cast upon a wall when the sunlight through a window hits a toy just right. The moment you awake from sleeping and see the face of someone you love so dearly greeting you with reassurance. A mismatched (to me) outfit that’s “perfect” for the confident “three-nager.” A kitchen towel that all of a sudden becomes a plate of imaginary food at an imaginary restaurant.
How can I miss them, but have them right here?
It’s simple, and disappointing: I feed into those other distractions. The reality is, I don’t give them my full gaze as often as I should. That’s why I spend my nights studying their faces in a picture on my phone, because I haven’t been engaged enough to study their faces right in front of me.
I want, so deeply, to show up better for my kids. I know: I’m my own worst critic. Most parents are.
I’m not saying I’m going off the grid. I’m not aiming for perfection.
But, how much more life could we create simply by locking eyes? Putting our phone down? Just being in the moment?
I’m determined though for a more engaged childhood with my kids and life with my husband.
I’m determined to not just look, but to see beyond the surface.
And, I’m determined to be fully present, no matter what distractions want to pull my gaze elsewhere.