Helplessness and Eyes

I’m not going to waste time, I’ll just say it. My kid is the cutest kid on the planet, ever. Don’t argue otherwise, your kid has nothing on mine.

It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul, and it’s so true. You can hide behind facial expressions, body language, and words. It’s easy to mask our insecurities with a joke, to cover up our exhaustion by forcing smiles, to hide behind our anxieties with frenetic activity. The gateway to the soul, the window to the deepest parts of our being is through our eyes. The eyes read like an open book with a magnifying glass. Every day at Starbucks you could see the stress of the single moms, the exhaustion on the faces of schoolteachers working two jobs to support their family, the joy of the recent graduates embarking on their next chapter, and the pain of the woman who’d just been diagnosed with cancer and came to get coffee to feel normal.

Sam has the most piercing brown eyes I’ve ever seen. One look at his eyes and we know if he’s sleepy, happy, hungry, or upset. The last few days he’s had this look in his eyes that brings Carrie and me to tears. He’s going through a tough cold and cough, and it’s making him have trouble sleeping. But his eyes tell it all: “Mommy, Daddy, I don’t feel good. Make it better”

It’s helplessness because there’s only so much we can do, and so little that he can understand. He doesn’t understand why his nose runs so much, and we can’t tell him to where he understands that the medicine will make him feel better. He doesn’t know why food doesn’t taste good, and we can’t tell him enough that soup is good for him when he’s sick. And maybe that’s the hardest part of it all – the not-knowing.

What makes it better? Besides the fact that sick baby snuggles are the best and sweetest? It’s that through all this we get to be instruments of grace and love to a little person with real wants, needs, and desires. We get to love him and serve him in his sickness and care for him in a way that no one else can. We get to be the one who he reaches out for in the night and whose shoulder he falls asleep on.

And that makes it so worth it. Even when we don’t know what to do or how we can help him.

One day he’ll be able to tell us what hurts, and we’ll be able to talk to him about his medicine and he’ll be able to tell us to read to him. Until then, we’ll keep looking to his eyes.

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