Being Everything

by Jenifer DeMattia
Originally Published: 

I walk downstairs and turn the corner. My four year old gives me a look, “You’re here,” his eyes say. Not so much in excitement, but more of a puzzled amusement. As if he had found all of his Christmas presents and unwrapped them. Like he ate an entire cake and just realized he forgot to clean the icing off his face. “Did she see what I was up to?” And with my eyes, I tell him that yes, I saw, and I’m not so happy about it. He is full of mischief, always trying to get one by me. I hear the bathroom door; he is at the sink with the water running. He does this thing where he puts one arm under the water and gets the sleeve of his shirt soaking wet, then comes out whining that he needs me to take his shirt off because he accidentally got it wet. I caught him putting his arm under water and in the mirror our eyes meet. “You’re here,” and the corners of our mouths almost instantaneously fight back a smile. To have someone look at me like that, even just once, assures me that wonderment truly needs no words. Just a look. It says everything.

As I walk through the door after coming back home, I turn the corner and lock eyes with my husband. He is holding a screaming baby and the four year old is on the loose. He looks at me as though he’s been standing at a locked door for hours and I have arrived with the key. Like I just gave rain to a barren desert. “You’re here,” he says with his eyes. “Thank God you are here.” My husband loves nighttime with our boys. It’s his special time. He wrestles in our bed with the four year old, and tosses the little guy around too, before reading books. He blasts them off like a rocket out of the bathtub. The daytime is harder. The time when there is so much to do, there are so many things to take care of to make things work. When I am gone during the day for whatever reason, he is always happy to see me come home. He says the boys miss their mom. I know it’s really him that misses me. The kids and I have our routine. And because he is always working, he doesn’t know all the secrets of the house, the tricks that make it easier, and the organized chaos that gets us through. To have someone look at me like that, even just once, assures me that appreciation truly needs no words. Just a look. It says everything.

We all look at one another everyday and try to figure each other out. Just like the moon, our interactions go through many phases, each one beautiful in its own unique way. I’m fascinated by the way we show each other how we feel in preparation of spending our lives together as a family. It starts as disbelief. In the beginning, we are the center of each other’s universe and so essential like the air that fills each other’s lungs. It’s empowering and unexplainable. As we grow, we test each other. Sometimes even pushing each other away just to make the other prove there is no limit to their love.

As for my boys, I don’t imagine when they are teenagers their eyes will say quite the same thing. I can only guess it will be more like, “Oh great, you’re here! Can I get a ride?” In fact, I believe a transition will actually take place where they will look forward to the days I’m not there so they can have the house to themselves for whatever mischief is planned. But that’s ok because as much as it hurts, I don’t want to be the mother of little boys for the rest of my life. I want to raise good men, and enjoy the time I will one day have without them under my roof. And I’ll look forward to every time I see them, when my eyes meet theirs and without saying a word I tell them, “You’re here. Thank God you’re here.” Because being able to look at someone like that, even just once, will assure me that I have truly loved. And in just a look, I can say what would take a lifetime to express in words – that they are everything.

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