Time is moving so quickly. Too quickly. My three little beans are growing up. Kindergarten readiness screenings, smiles with missing teeth, preschool registration. I keep looking around for the magic button that will freeze time and give me the chance to soak it all up. Soak them up. Apparently there is no magic button J Instead there’s this. I wrote the original more than a year ago. It still fits and - with a few tweaks - captures as best I can just how I love each of them right now.
“Look at those eyes.”
No matter where I go with my three kids, I can be sure someone will utter those four words. Old ladies at the grocery store, the cashier at Target, the unfortunate souls who sit behind us in church. It never fails.
My kids happen to all have the same very big, very blue eyes and their daddy’s very long eyelashes. So yes, look at those eyes. But for me, it’s not look at them, it’s look into them. That’s where you’ll find the real beauty.
Look into my 5-½-year-old son’s eyes and meet Professor Bean. See his sensitivity and curiosity. His hunger to learn and learn and then learn some more. And his caring—his concern for a friend or a sister who’s hurt or sad. His certainty that a hug and kiss from him can take away whatever stress or crabbiness a day with three children under six may have brought me. And he’s right: it works every time! And although the Professor tends to be a bit serious by nature, when something – or someone – tickles him, he has the most gloriously infectious giggle. It’s one of my favorite sounds.
Look into my 4-½-year-old daughter’s eyes. And see such pure sweetness it will take your breath away. See the contentment when she snuggles in your lap with a favorite book or sits with you to work on a puzzle or play a game. My Sunshine Bean approaches each day with joy and openness, certain that everyone will want to be her friend and that any day is made better by wearing a tutu and twirling. She’s as happy – or happier - when a friend wins as she is when the victory is her own. She’s who I’d like to be when I grow up.
Look into the eyes of my youngest—my not-a-baby-anymore almost three-year-old girl. And see how strong she is. How determined to keep up, to not be left behind, to solve that problem or climb to the top of that slide -- the tall one, thank you very much. See how sweet and loving she is and how hilarious she can be. The one and only Pinky Bean is an irresistible combination of sweetness and spunk that makes me anxious to find out just who she’s going to be.
Then look into my eyes. If you ignore the occasional dark circles and hint of crow’s feet, you’ll see that my eyes look a lot like theirs.
In my eyes you’ll see worry -- worry that I’m not doing it right enough, not being the mom that they deserve. And guilt -- every time I have to give less of me to one in order to give more to the one who needs it most. And the exhaustion. I had my first baby at 36 and my last at 39. Sometimes they make me feel like I’m 25 again, other times my body would tell you it feels at least 70.
You’ll also see pride. Pride in who these three little people are and who they’re becoming. Pride when they’re kind and thoughtful and even pride when one or more of them is stubborn in the exact way I’m stubborn. Because sometimes, stubborn can be a good thing!
But if you look past the worry and guilt and exhaustion—and even the pride—you’ll see only two things. Joy and love.
So yes, please do. Look at those eyes.