There is something about staring into the eyes of a little one. Those deep pools of wide-eyed contemplation…able to stare right back with unabashed curiosity. It is a silent mutual acknowledgment between two bits of humanity… knowing that we will somehow change each other’s life in some measurable way.
There is something about receiving a smile from the lips of a little one. The grin that grows from their toes and makes one feel hope, optimism, and excitement for the future. How could life not be so is whispered in my ear from somewhere in my heart.
There is something about seeing your child within the spirit of a little one. That child that you cradled so many years ago during the midnight hours while others slept. That child who came to you with boo boos to be kissed, hands to be held, and homework to be discussed. That child who you watched grow before your eyes into an adult…and now looking back with those deep pools, I am reminded that this is the past, present and future before me… This is love.
I watched her run, hair flying in the wind… barrettes clinging to but a strand of blonde hair. I knew then that there would come a day. I stood with her as she gritted her teeth and refused to cry as injections became part of her life so early on. I knew then that there would come a day. I smiled as she danced in new dresses, twirling around in pure delight in the store dressing rooms. Oh there would come a day, I told myself under my breath. A time when she was no longer mine. I knew I never owned her but I had her time, her attention, her hand and her heart. That sweet little hand that squeezed mine tightly with pure love. We spent many carefree moments, her on my hip as we swooned to music in the midst of the morning. Yet I knew there would come a day.
I watched her so tenderly care for her baby doll. I recall the day she painfully decided she was too old to play with her beloved babies any longer. I knew there would come a day. I swore she could come to me with anything, I promised my heart and her. I would listen, I would provide my advice if she asked…I would not judge. We shared butterfly kisses and declared our love to be greater than the universe. I knew there would come a day.
I watched her gain self-confidence, determination and guts that I never had possessed. I saw this little girl become a teenager filled with such empathy and inner beauty that I was mystified she was mine. Oh but I knew there would come a day. Years of schooling, hours upon hours of hard work and many emails of papers sent for my review. I admit that some of them I hardly understood the concepts. I was impressed and in awe. Who was this young woman and where had my baby gone? No more barrettes haphazardly dangling. No butterfly kisses and no books to be read. I knew there would come a day.
I tell you as I write this, I can not fight the tears. I welcome them as much as the memories I so dearly hold. They are tears of life…living…loving. A new chapter is soon coming. But not so long ago, we had one more of those delightful dressing room days, just her and I. She was twirling again- this time in a long white dress…her face all aglow…and I watched her, my little girl….and I knew…there would come a day.
I once knew a boy who was as shy as the breeze on a sweltering summer day. He held big blue eyes and a smile of pure innocence that melted my heart. Wearing a superman cape and too short pajama bottoms, running through the house with The Wizard of Oz rewinding for yet another viewing- a boy I once knew.
I once knew a boy who was the quietest child in preschool – so I was told. He often played alone and never ever bossed or demanded of another. Swept away by the diagnosis of severe hearing loss at age four…I simply smiled in his presence but cried many tears apart from him. I felt an unfairness to be true- a certain sadness that his future would not be as envisioned. You know, perfectly planned out as parents do once we count the fingers and toes.
I once knew a boy who read books in utter silence for hours- stuck in his hands as if glued to the fingers. Carefully respected, never dog-eared and ever broken at the spine. Books were his love and sweetest treasure, especially those with maps. Reading became a world yet to discover and full of possibilities. A world he loved dearly. This little guy knew the beauty of the written word and its ability to transcend the present taking him to new places and adventures- without the demand for sound and leaving spoken words unheard.
I once knew a boy who taught me that life is what we make of it. We can stop and give up when the road ahead seems just too hard and long or we can walk on and figure it out along the way. We can wish for what we cannot have or appreciate what we possess and use our talents wisely. We can step over those who are in our way or reach down and pull them up with us. I have learned a lot from a boy I once knew…now a man I call my son.