My mom used to tell me the story of a time when I was fairly young and she and I were at the grocery store together. I was old enough to be able to speak and converse with my mom, but the memory is foggy in my memory, at best. According to Mom, there was a baby in the cart in front of us that I apparently thought was cute. I just stared and stared at that baby and finally said to my mom, “Mommy, when I look at that baby it just makes my eyes want to cry.”
So many times over the years, I’ve encountered babies or children that had that “cuteness” factor that evoked a similar sentiment to what my 3 or 4 year old self verbalized to my mom so many years ago. None of those even held a candle to the feeling that I get when I look at my own children.
Every parent thinks that their kids are cute, I think it’s a requirement of parenting. Even in the awkward stages of the teen years, parents can probably still find something about their kids about which to dote (especially moms). I am no exception to the doting, especially as all of my kids are under the age of 10.
Since my first child was born, I have made it a point to go into my children’s rooms and just look at them. I will often whisper endearments in their ears or quietly pray over them. Often, I will just stand there and stare, marveling at God’s creation and the humility of being a part of it, even to the point of helping in the re-creation of life.
So many times over the last few years, my children have provided therapy for me without even knowing it. I have laughed. I have cried. I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been afraid. They always managed to find themselves at the center of so many of those emotions, but the ones that are the most memorable to me are the ones in which I’ve experienced joy, even being overcome with tears of joy.
In those quiet moments in their rooms at night, after they have fallen asleep, there is something peaceful about listening to their breaths. In and out. In and out. Sometimes the breaths get louder…..even to a snore, but it’s always so peaceful.
I recount the day and all that took place within it. I think about their smiles. I think about their achievements. I think about the pride I have in calling them my sons and daughter. I think about the humility and responsibility required for parenting. I thank God for the gift that he’s given me and entrusted me with.
I would love to have a conversation with my 3 or 4 year old self to find out just what it was that I saw in that baby so many years ago. I imagine that if we talked, I would tell my older self that the sheer beauty, innocence, peace, and joy that I found in that baby’s face was enough to overwhelm me with emotion. My older self would probably tell my younger self to just wait until I had kids of my own…….
Taking those moments at the end of the day to look in on my kids adds joy to my life but it also helps me to regain perspective. What a blessing that they are, in their wild or crazy or happy or sad moments. I think I will always look at them and just the beauty that I see in them will make my eyes want to cry.