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Looking into my eyes

Do you ever stop to really look at your kids? I mean REALLY look at them……feature by feature, down to the shape of their piggies? From the minute we found out we were pregnant with each of our children, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering who they would look like….Would they have Michael’s ears that stick out a little bit? Would they have my nose that I’ve hated since childhood? Would they have their grandmother’s smile? Their aunt’s laugh? Who would this little person be?

When Ryley was in the NICU, we didn’t know who he looked like at first. We couldn’t see much of his face, and what we did see was distorted by his red skin, the tape pulling and holding the tubes in place, the hat covering his tiny head, the goggles over his eyes………As the lines were removed, one by one, we began to see our son’s face emerge. We knew he’d had the blondest hair at birth…would it stay that way? I wondered if his features would be permanently altered in some way after the months of tubes and tape. He had “preemie head”…..the unmistakeable long, narrow head from so many days and months of laying in the isolette instead of floating in amniotic fluid. He had piggie nose from the CPAP…….Who would he look like now? Did he look the same as he would have if he had been full-term?

I see bits and pieces of a lot of people in Ryley. If you look at him and his uncle (Michael’s brother) next to each other, you would see that Ryley is the near spitting image of BJ. Ryley is shaped EXACTLY like Michael and even walks the same way. He’s long and lean, just like his Daddy. But I see some of me in the quirk of his eyebrows and in the lower lip.

Grace is a different story alltogether. Other than having a round face, she looks exactly as I did when I was a little girl. Amazing. It blows me away to look at her sometimes. When she was born, she looked like Michael. She couldn’t look less like him now. The other night I was putting her to bed, and had one of THOSE moments…..I looked into her eyes, and I saw my eyes. I saw my nose, my mouth, my eyebrows, my smile. This was me, in Grace. I just stopped. She asked me why I was looking at her that way. How do you explain this to a child? You see yourself in her. I don’t want to live my life through my daughter, but I see hope and I see future in her. I see me as a little girl with all the world before her. And I pray that some of my traits have not been inherited by her….those traits that have made some things difficult for me…..the painful shyness that took years to get over and that still can trap my tongue at the worst moments……the perfectionism that pushed me, sometimes to illness and exhaustion…….the overwhelming need to please others…….I saw myself in her eyes.

Ethan is his own little person. He’s pretty much half of Michael and half of me. He is long and lean like his Daddy, has the blond hair Michael did when he was a little boy, the blue eyes we both have, my smile, my mouth, feet like me, hands like Michael…….He is more outgoing than any of the three, at least at this developmental stage.

I look at the three of them…….Really look at them. I wonder who they will be when they grow up. What will they end up looking like, and what parts of them will they see in their own children.

6 thoughts on “Looking into my eyes

  1. Wow! You wrote what has been in my mind these days. I do spend a lot of time letting my mind wander wondering what my future son will look like and all of the things I want to teach him (and yet try not to live my life through him). The one feature that I hope he doesn’t get from me is my nose. I annoy my friends all of the time with questions about whether or not I should get my nose worked on (which I’ll probably never do). I’m so self-conscious about my face that even writing the word nose (now for the third time) is making me squirm. You, however, have a great nose. Thanks for sharing this. It made me smile.

  2. What sweet sentiments. It’s funny, when you talk about how you didn’t really know what Ryley looked like at birth. I almost cried in the NICU at the thought of bringing my boys home knowing I could NEVER tell them apart! They looked so much the same… their pictures were interchangable… actually, we have some that we don’t even know who they are of. Until we actually started to *see* them. Without the c-pap hood or bili-glasses or nasal tubes. Holy cow, they’re like little people!! Isaac and Lorne are the spitting images of Daddy’s baby pictures (I actually fooled my mom the other day w/one of Scott’s baby photos, “Where was that taken?” Sullivan looks like me. Actually, like his uncle, my brother. So sweet. Great post, Donna. Made me want to go check my sleeping boys a little more closely! (while they are not in constant motion and I can actually sneak a peek at them!)

  3. Donna, You put into motion what I wonder everyday! My sister & I were actually marveling at her two last night! Gracie is a spitting image of my sister (she says she needs to stop whining about her nose cause Gracie has it & its cute on her)…*what is it with y’all & noses? James?…..Callie looks like just like my nephew with the eye shape of her daddy! She’s our *chinese* baby!! Taylor looks JUST like me as a child, but looks like her dad between her nose & hairline! I have baby pictures of me & her next to each other on the wall (same looking dress – same age *6 months*)….my mom was wondering which was which!! I often look at George Daniel’s picture & wonder who he really looked like…who he would grow up looking like! I see a lot of Taylor in him, with strawberry blonde hair like his dad. He’s got my dimples, that was for sure! Thanks for pointing on a subject I think of often, Donna!! HUGS!!

  4. Donna, Your children are beautiful, each one of them!! They are an amazing mix of you and Michael, but Grace…. oh, she does look so much like you!!
    When I looked at her Princess picture from her party… all I could see was you!! I too would sit and wonder the same things, when I was pregnant. Who would this little person look like? Would they have my nose… ugh… Kirk’s curls…yay? My kiddos all look the same, yet look so different. And preemie head.. oh how you’ve taken me back!! Poor Rachel had such preemie head… I became obsessed with reshaping her head… the poor girl was probably dizzy from me rotating her so often when she came home!! Thanks for a great blog!!

  5. Donna, What a beautiful and moving peek into your heart! How precious. You have to copy this…and keep it somewhere for *you*. HUGS! There are so many traits that your children would do well to have within them…You sweet grace….your ability to laugh easily…your wisdom…you determination….All good things…All things worth passing on to your sweet kids. Your children are charming…but then, so is their momma! Hugs! Melissa

  6. Darcy, Your children are a wonderful blend of a beautiful mother and father. I use to wonder the same thing about Benjamin before he was born…who will he look like. But interestingly enough he is definitely a little bit of me and a little bit of his Dad. However, when we are together, I always get the comment, he is the spitting image of you!!! But I look at him everyday too, and see the changes of a baby face turning into a little boy’s face. I’m holding on to that for a long time….because I know one day, he will be a fine young man!!! I found a baby picture of his Dad, and he was identical to Benjamin as a baby. It’s so amazing! Your children are blessed not only with good looks, but great character! Hugs to you! Brenda

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