Every day, I look at my babies with the same eyes.
Tired eyes. Red and dry from the exposure to the elements. Every day. I look at them every blessed day and I study them in detail. This bump here. That bruise over there. Hair that needs to be washed, fingernails that need a trim. Every day I look closely and study and my tired eyes wash over them, translating to my brain the list of things to attend to. To fix. I see cuts and scrapes and dirt beneath fingernails and remnants of breakfast in the corners of mouths.
Every day I scan, looking for the little.
Missing the big.
In my constant scan over them I miss the minutiae of their growth. I miss that her face has continued to mature. There’s that photo of her. I took it just last month. And there she is, my baby. The chubby cheeks that push up into big brown eyes when she smiles. There they are. I had thought that all of the baby had all but melted away months ago. But the melting happens every day. Every day drops of chubby cheeks and tiny pudgy hands melt away, into smooth lines and fine features. Giving way to the woman she is becoming. Every day I pour over those features and yet, I miss the melting. I always miss the melting.
I miss that his hair has continued to grow. A mess of curls now sprawls atop his head and a new one forms every single day. I always feel that his hair is so long and it’s been so long forever. Until I look back and realize it wasn’t there before. It’s been growing all along. Lengthening and curling and waving around his face. Every day I comb that hair and try to tame it’s wild ways and smile appreciatively when someone notices his gorgeous curls. But I miss the growing. I always miss the growing.
I look at them every day. I scan their bodies for health and cleanliness.
I see the little specs of blueberry and eggs.
And I miss the rest.
Family comes into town and there are hugs and squeezes and through the eyes of an aunt and an uncle, so much has changed. She is so much taller and bigger. His curls, just look at them! He’s got new tricks, she has new words, and it’s a marvel a minute the entire weekend through. With their eyes, their fresh eyes, dry only for want of seeing them more and soaking in every waking moment, they study them in detail. Look at that face he makes! See how luxurious her eyelashes are! You can just see how much they love each other.
The delights that meet their eyes awaken all senses and for two days straight, aunt and uncle feast on a sea of giggles and cries and hugs and kisses. Every movement like a little celebration.
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As it should be, of course. Because every movement is. A celebration of the growth and the growing, the reaching and the grasping. We really do live in a time of a marvel a minute. That the bumps and missteps and bruises in between overshadow those marvels is my fault. It’s the fault in my eyes.
Family leaves and they take their eyes with them. And I am left feeling blind. Wondering how do I keep seeing my children while looking at them? It’s trickier than it should be, this seeing while looking. When we look, we miss so much.
But when we see, we capture it all.