Monday, April 11, 2011

Behold Your Little Ones


Last week I realized it had been a long time since I'd really looked into my children's faces.

I mean, really looked.

It was during a General Conference message by Jean A. Stevens who mentioned really looking into our children's faces and seeing them as they are and will become. Certainly I look at my children all day long. I look at them when they need me, when I feed them, bathe them and put them to bed. (Though not enough for their liking--they both have easily picked up the skill of turning my chin so I will look at them when they want my attention.)

But really soaked in their faces, their spirits? It had been awhile.

This week both of my babies were sick. There was nothing to be done but hold their hot, sweaty bodies--victims of actual spring fevers and massage their little feet (we call massages "nice" in our family, The Chief says, "Mom, I want nice.") Because they weren't moving at nearly the speed of which they normally function I could actually sit and look in their faces, examine their limbs and feel their souls.

And for the first time I noticed the tone of Ever's eyes--they are like the color of a cherry chocolate cake. And how her nest of feather hair is starting to curl softly in the back. She has a triangle birthmark, so very slight on her lower leg and speaking of those legs, they are growing long like Daddy's. And she's a sweetheart--a content little human with a strong helping of independence and an adoration for her father.

All of these discoveries surprised me, but none so much as the moment when I rocked my shivering, tired daughter in the rocking chair. Her fast breathing slowed down until deep gusts were coming out of her open mouth. She was asleep, finally. I rocked her for a bit longer before I attempted transitioning her into the crib. Only before I could stand, she awoke and sat suddenly straight up in my lap. For an intense second, she looked straight into my eyes as if she was remembering me. Without changing her fixated gaze, she then unraveled a hand out of her silky blanket and sweetly pinched my cheek like a Grandma to her offspring.

Then she turned her head and resumed heavy sleeping on my chest.

I need to look into my children's faces so they can see mine looking back at them. In that tiny second of non-verbal contact a massive impact of love is transmitted. I've never felt anything like it.

91 comments:

Ginnie said...

absolutely beautiful. loved this!

Kristin said...

beautiful

Mindy Gledhill said...

I love this.

michael. mindy. dane. said...

so well written. as always!

she is a doll. as is the chief. darling little ones you have!

Lynnette said...

One of the most beautiful things I've ever read. And now I'm off to peek at my sleeping babies.

Anonymous said...

I don't have children yet, but what you just described is why I reallyreally want them one day, no matter the financial cost, nor the disruption to my personal life, nor my terror that the world will corrupt them (which are all quite worrisome when you're young and child free, living the so-called easy life).

Rachel in Vancouver

P.S. Why were comments closed on the discussion about family size? I assume some sort of controversy got stirred up after comment #74 (the last one I had a chance to read).

lindsay said...

This is so sweet. ...And I just blogged about how my kids are turning my brain to mush...

Mom said...

I'm so sorry your babies are sick. My youngest two have had such a bad winter! The two-year-old has asthma, so everything makes him wheeze. That means breathing treatments and steroids...but it also means a chance to hold him and cuddle him. Sometimes with the baby it seems like I just don't get that opportunity as much as I would like. Enjoy those precious moments...soon they will be all grown up.
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

Kira said...

It is late, my kids are long asleep but reading your post compelled me to go upstairs and watch them sleep for a little while. When was the last time I gave my 4 yo my undivided attention when he was telling me a story? When did I really look at my 6 yo last?

It is very easy to get caught up in life and forget about lasting impressions. As I was helping my mother format her blog tonight, I got caught up in memories as a sorted through my box of childhood photos (I've been meaning to scan in) frantically looking for a baby picture of my 24 yo brother. I flipped through tons of pictures of my parents holding me and staring at the marvel of their baby. Then I came to your blog and realized that look did teach me how much my parents love me. And that seeing pictures, while they cannot capture the look of love they can recreate the feeling.

My goal this week is to really look at my kids. And hopefully capture some more pictures of a parent and child staring in adoration at one and another.

Kira
twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

sinika said...

Thanks for this. I need to do the same.

Anna said...

This is beautiful, C Jane. I don't comment often, but I am a religious reader. I'm not a mom yet, but I definitely feel a special connection to this post. I just got back from working in some orphanages in Ecuador and I had the wonderful opportunity to feel that distinct connection with the children that I served. And our theme was mirad a vuestros pequeñitos, or "Behold your little ones."

Thank you for this post, Courtney.

Kris said...

Loved that talk.

Penny said...

That story about your daughter chucking your cheek takes my breath away!

Alicia said...

I love it. When my children are about to fall asleep is the best time to cuddle and emotionally connect with them. I love how you mention doing it so that they can see you looking at them. That's how I want them to remember me best, the sweet, calm, peaceful moments we share - not just the frantic, "stop touching that" moments. I need to look at my babies (who are no longer babies) more.
ldspearls.blogspot.com

Butlers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

What a sweet post today. Isn't motherhood a great teacher? Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous said...

A gorgeous, darling cheek-pinching baby. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Anonymous said...

That is so sweet, such a nice story. My daughter is reading a book and I picked it up the other day and started reading it and was surprised that one of the characters in the book was a girl named "Ever". I thought I would never hear that name again! The book is Radiance by Alyson Noel. It is a story about a girl that goes to Heaven and misses her sister Ever who is still on Earth. Ever is not a main character but would be a nice book to get!

jeanne said...

so beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

so beautiful cjane. i am speechless!

Marnie said...

That was beautiful. I have made that in-depth looking at my youngest (adopted) daughter a daily habit as she is nothing short of a miraculous gift to me - thanks to a loving and selfless birth mother who I absolutely adore.

My older daughters are teenagers now and I don't get to look at them too often as they are busy slowly breaking free of their dependence on me and want their distance, but today I got to stroke the cheek of my 14 year old "porcupine" for a couple of minutes and I did what you described - just looked at her face and remembered her as a little one and marveled at how truly beautiful she is growing (when she's not opening her mouth and spreading discord ; ). But that's not all the time. I need to look more often.

Lindsey said...

Cjane--We were pregnant at the same time, so I rode right along side you (even though you didn't know it!) for that whole journey with an extra appreciation for things that you wrote, that I was also feeling.

Since then our minds have come to the same intersections, but it is you who writes it best.

I smiled reading what you wrote today, because again our minds have moments of similarity. (www.abridgetobrooklyn.com)

Please keep writing forever!

Elisa said...

How sweet! Your description about "really" looking at your children is lovely. I hope your kids can read these blog passages about themselves when they are older. These are really wonderful reflections about a mother's love. I think it's important to take time to memorize the fine features of loved ones' faces because somehow time easily erases the details from our minds. I loved your post today!

L.A. said...

This is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read. Thank you.

Katie said...

What a sweetheart! I love that talk too!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Courtney!
This blog is simply so true, so beautiful, so full of love!
Sending you love from Austria,
Nicole Frauenfeld Posch

Sarah Kate said...

Yum, yum, yum.

Jenn said...

What a sweetheart your cute daughter is! Thank you for the beautiful reminder of how precious our children truly are to us. I needed that this morning.

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

That.

Is motherhood.

It is most in sickness that our work manifests itself. That is when I see in their hearts as much as their eyes that all the things that I have done have not gone unnoticed. That they have been recorded.

In their souls.

Even though they don't remember.

Michelle said...

My four year likes me to lightly rub her face. She calls it "softing." As in, "Mommy, will you soft my face?" So sweet.

Wendy said...

She is precious! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely do more of that.

Lisa said...

That's wonderful. I just dropped my little boy off at preschool and now I want to start the morning over and look deep into his eyes. At 5 yrs old, he's not much of a snuggler/hugger (except at bedtime), but over the weekend, he laid in my arms as I was sitting down. His head on my shoulder and both arms and both legs wrapped around me. He stayed there for probably a minute or so and I just sat there with my arms wrapped around him and savored what he felt like in my arms...I mean really felt him.. his skin, his hair, his breathing..it's a wonderful feeling and all too soon I know those moments will not necessarily be there (like when he's a teenager!)

Erin said...

This is so beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sweet.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post!

grbev said...

Being a grandmother is so intense .... you have the wisdom to capture special moments in time with a grandchild and the rememberence of your own child (the one who produced this special grandchild) and it truly is a spiritual awakening when these past and present memories collide. I remember once sitting in a rocking chair with my sweet little grandson asleep in my arms. The sunlight drifted through the blinds and left shafts of light on his curly blond hair. Suddenly his large blue eyes opened and his lips curled into a delighted smile...wow, communing with the angels! I remember thinking, "If I could just capture this moment in time, it would last me forever" and it has.

Isn't Love Grand!

Bev in West Point UT

lotusinthemuck said...

a beautiful post!

Cheryl said...

so sweet! it is easy to really look into a newborn's face and gaze into their spirit because that's what they do. Harder when they become older and mobile. Especially hard when they are 12 and 10 and think you are crazy wanting to stare at them! :)

will and tiff said...

just perfect. thank you. having sick ones this week too also allowed us that time to examine one another. it was everything i was craving, just a moment to be. a moment to take in the miracle they are.

hope that little darling ever is feeling all better now. here's to a week full of health and sunny days.

Lori said...

:-)

Debbie said...

So true and beautifully written...as usual. I hope you all have a happy, heathy week. :)

Sunny said...

That's just beautiful, thank you.

Heather said...

Beautiful, Cjane. I needed that today.

Angie (Drowns) Kelly said...

Lovely. That is the best kind of communication.

lady lee said...

So sweet. Love it.

deemom said...

When my children were born there was not 24 hours tv so getting up in the night with them meant undivided attention. My youngest was a night owl he thought that 11pm MEANT party time and chatty-ville. He was my most verbal child. He loved to talk. He woke up talking and went to sleep talking. When he did look straight into our faces it was almost if he was trying to get us to remember him. IT WAS and STILL is the thing I miss most about young children motherhood. Don't get me wrong EVERY stage has it's pluses. He is about to have his first child. I AM so looking forward to seeing him as a dad. THANKS for the memories.....deemom

emmaproctor said...

what a beautiful post.

Christine Robbins said...

So beautiful...

The crazy Shaw Family said...

Beautiful. I also need to take time to enjoy and "Behold" each of my little ones. What blessings each of them are!

Clyde said...

Sweet post. Truly one, indeed!

Noni said...

Oh , Thank you! What a tender experience. Thank you for sharing. My baby is now 15 and I so miss those rocking moments!

Dallas, Dad, Big D & I said...

That may be the most beutiful piece I've seen you write. Thanks for the reminder. Now that my children are mostly grown I have fond memories of their childhood. As I hear my married daughter and engaged daughter talk of the hope of children I know they want all those wonderful experiences that parenting brings. I am pleased that I can fully recommend parenting to them as a great and valuable choice.

Kayleen said...

This post made me cry! I need to do the same. I'm missing the little baby and toddler stages. My youngest will be 5 next month.. .then off to school. They grow up way too fast! I don't want to miss a single moment of it. Thank you for writing this. Just what I needed to hear today. Love you! :)

m e l said...

:)

Alexa Mae said...

This is beautiful Courtney. So real and heartfelt. What a wonderful Mother you are. Thanks for the super sweet reminder.

Dawn. said...

my favorite post.

Jenny (also) said...

Awesome and awe inspiring. Crazy how one perfect, soul stirring moment makes hundred (thousands?) of hours of frustration, boredom, and exhaustion, not to mention some "weird" smells totally worth it.

Little Miss Paige said...

Chocolate cherry cake -- how beautiful! You children are so blessed to have all of these memories written down. I wish my mother had written down memories like that. I wonder what color she would have described my eyes as.

Happy Monday!

Jennifer Bowman said...

So beautiful and what a wonderful reminder.

WCreativeDesigns said...

My kids and I were both sick for two plus weeks and we too had a chance to really connect again and I really needed it as did they. There is nothing like peering into the soul of your child and seeing them as they really are! Beautiful post!

Heather said...

Thank you for this. I cannot begin to tell you what this means to me. I completely understand it. When that talk was given, I was sweeping my kitchen floor and literally stopped what I was doing and stood still to take it all in. It spoke straight to my soul. Early last week I lost my 3rd pregnancy half way through, it was a little girl. I have 2 amazing little boys. Oh the sting. Thank you for this incredible reminder of what life is really about.

Fresh Hell, Texas said...

Oh my, Ever. She is just a chunk of love, love, love. I just want to lightly dust her with powdered sugar...

Today's post is such a good reminder to not just look but really see each other. Thank you for that.

Marie Louise said...

Wonderful Post!!! Sometimes I feel like I am crazy. I love to sit in the quiet moments and simply look at my son's face. I see so much possibility there! I will tug on my husbands arm, and say "look at his little face". To his credit, he always does, but I wonder if he realizes how much of a miracle that little face is!!

Kelly said...

Beautiful post, Cjane. Just so sweet. And GREAT advice. I was just looking through baby pictures to choose one for my almost-14-year-old's 8th grade end of the year celebration. Could FOURTEEN years have gone by so fast?? Such a whirlwind. My 3rd and 4th babies are only 13 months apart and I was so wrapped up in the shock of being a nursing mother of a baby AND a pregnant mother that I hardly remember my third child as a baby at all. That makes me sad. So yes, LOOK at your children and envelop yourself in their spirits. I loved how you said "feel their soul" (exact quote?) -- I LOVE THAT.

Mortons Love said...

Just lovely. I too loved that talk. Behold them indeed. Miss your face.

Luna said...

w.o.w.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This may be the most beautiful piece you have ever written

Julie said...

Oh how I love sick days, the world just has to stop as you dote and fret on the sweet little’s that are in our care, I love snuggle blankets and resting on couches, extra kisses from usually too busy babies. Special fruit pops for hydration and movies for relaxation. It’s such a time of gratitude for modern medicine and old fashion tricks that makes us thankful that it is a quick short sickness as we regain our health and appreciate it a little more.

Anonymous said...

Tienes razon, yo veo en el reflejo de sus ojos pequeños de mi hijo el amor y dulcura, con el que yo lo veo.

Un abrazo

JOHANNA DIAZ
Bogota-Colombia

Mindy Halladay said...

Ah...so sweet! And, I love that you guys call massaging, "nice." That is what my (now 7 year old) son used to say when he was little - "Mom, can you nice my leg?"

Amber said...

perfectly said, an answer to my prayers on how I can better connect with my daughter.

Erica said...

what a beautiful thing to read today. i just felt this same thing last night. unreal. my two sick bambinas ravaged by fever, i watched as their faces hit their pillows. unbelievable "i love this person" moments.

Rachel C said...

Thank you for this sweet reminder :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Just lovely.

Kristin G

Elizabeth said...

I so remember those wordless looks, exchanged between my now twelve and nine year old sons and me. That boundless love that needs absolutely no spoken language. My daughter, disabled and non-verbal since three months of age, can still look at me so deeply that I nearly gasp. Thank you for this beautiful post and the reminder. I'm off to gaze --

Anonymous said...

I'm pregnant and this made me cry

Anonymous said...

Loved this. This is why I prefer your blog to your sister's - no offense. Because your words are deep. They touch the soul.

This is sending me into my little girl's room to look at her sleeping. She is the same age as Ever. And she's getting tubes in her ears at 7am tomorrow morning, poor thing.

Carin said...

What a lovely post! And such a priceless photo of you and Ever.
I am a bit further down lifes road, I can tell you what you have to look forward to in little faces. Today, you see Ever and the Chief and when the time comes they will have little ones of their own and you will again see expressions of loved ones who have gone home to our Father in Heaven. My 2 year old Grandson, Josh has my Fathers smile. Daddy has been gone now for 12 years, what a gift to be reminded of him everytime Josh grins...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I loved this!

(Heather, huge hugs to you. So sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you. Hang in there)

mairi said...

oh my! Me husband and I are thinking about maybe (maybe) trying to get pregnant and I feel sooooooo scared!!! and then, i read posts like this one, and think, oh my, i can't wait!!! thank you...

Christina said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful truth. I need to go look at my kids!

Notes from Holly St. said...

ohhh so beautiful. now i can't wait for my daughter to wake up so i can stare into her eyes.

Anonymous said...

My little one is nearly 23 years old and I still take a moment to look at him, take a deep breath, and just remember... loveley post C. Jane - thank you

Kellybarney1966@yahoo.com

Kylene said...

New reader here. Beautiful post. The word "behold" seems to invite so much more than just "look." Thanks for the reminder.

The Harrison Crew said...

Beautiful writing. Thank you.

Hello*Lucky*Holly said...

One of your best posts in a long time love.

Anonymous said...

I have children already but am just so keen to have another. It would mean IVF though. I'm not keen for that process or for the pregnancy sickness or keen to experience pnd again but for those sacred moments only experienced between me and my infant will be what I relish.
The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.

The BabbyMama said...

This is AWESOME. I don't think people really look - deeply and contemplatively - enough into the eyes and faces of their children. I try to do this as much as I can. And sometimes I have one of those moments where the P. is looking back at me, really looking, and it's just amazing.

jenica said...

now this, this is parenting with integrity.

NestBliss said...

Thanks this has been with me all week. I think maybe impacting the way I parent! Your doing a good job here.

Matt and Mel Odell said...

This has changed my life. Thank you