My grandson’s eyes hold the essence of life. In the changing phases of his twelve-month-old eyes, I see the unfiltered purity of what it means to live. They connect me to core traits I want to find in myself.
His eyes trust. They meet mine for extended seconds, and in that freeze-framed moment, tell me that he feels safe and knows he is loved.
They return the unbridled joy his parents have in him.
They share the wonder of minute-by-minute discovery—the cold sweetness of ice cream, the crash of a tower of wooden cube blocks,
They reflect the delight of a shared activity. They invite me to play peek-a-boo, to catch the bouncy ball he has thrown me, and send it back to him, to imitate his movements, and, as I do, they scintillate.
They focus attention on the task that consumes him. He circles a bath tub faucet with hair elastics. He nests two containers over and over, to be sure the result will be the same. First a water-filled teether and then a plastic cup, resonate on the laminate floor, and, seconds later, thud on the carpeted stair.
His eyes declare a mission: let go of Mommy’s finger or the drawer pull to take off on his own, walking down the hall, negotiating a turn, and heading toward the office chair.
His eyes express pride: I can walk!
They convey his uncertainty around the dried leaves that crunch as he moves in the pile he’s sitting in, and then
they channel the resolve to move through that newness to Daddy waiting on the other side.
They narrow into mischievous intent just before the hand that has grabbed the slice of cooked chicken slides over the side of the high chair and releases.
I figure if I hang around him enough, some of those very precious traits will rub off on me, and I will be redirected toward the essence of life.