17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Do your eyes light up?

I remember a moment when I was sitting on the stand in our Chapel waiting to conduct the music. For some reason many of the little people of the ward were detained with their Dads and their moms were already seated on the pews waiting for them. One by one in came these little toddlers to sit by their moms. And one by one, as the toddlers turned the corner into the pew, the moms reacted as if it had been weeks, months, years since they had seen their child. Their faces completely transformed as their eyes met their child’s eyes. In truth, it was Katie, Carrie and Marian. I was so impressed by the love in their eyes and the obvious strong bond between mother and child.

I was reminded of this moment when I watched a snippet of Oprah the other day. There was a story about a “biker guy” who had watched Toni Morrison on Oprah. She said that our children see their esteem through our eyes and our emotions. She posed the question: Do your eyes light up when you see your child? This inspired “biker guy” to make every moment (all 15 minutes a day that he got with his kids) count. He changed his behaviors so that instead of seeing his kids and scolding right away about not cleaning their room etc., he greeted them with his eyes lit up.

It made me question myself: Do my eyes light up? I think most of the time they do. And I also had a moment of clarity about a mother that I see every week at my daughter’s ballet class. She always seems very, to put it generically, down, about her kids or being pregnant. I can relate to not feeling well while pregnant, but even after their birth, she was still down. I thought maybe this was just her personality until I started talking to her about her work: Her eyes lit up. Her daughter is pretty anti-social and “down.” I can’t help but think there is a connection there. She sees a woman who only looks down on her, so how is she to feel good about her little 4-year-old self?

I am intrigued by Dove’s new Campaign for Real Beauty that was kicked off in a Superbowl commercial featuring beautiful little girls. As someone who has had high self esteem most of my life (thank you Mom for lighting up when you see me), I didn’t realize how prevalent this problem is and how if women had more self esteem, we would conquer so many demons. This is (to quote Oprah) an AHA! Moment for me. I want to cure breast cancer and now self esteem too. I will start with my two girls. Ready eyes….Let’s LIGHT!


  • I have tears in my eyes as I write this because I think being a mom is so haard! I love my children so much, and I SO hope that my eyes light up when I see them. For the most part they do, but there are times, and days when I know I am struggling to make them not look frustrated, angry, impatient, sad, irritated.

    I think acknowledging that my role a Mother IS IMPORTANT! If I lose that perspective, start to drift into thinking that I could be doing something else "more important", even if it is unintentional. I know I am a obsessed project doer. If I don't stop and look at my children throughout the day to see if I am fulfilling not just quantity but QUALITY time with them, then it's so easy to busily pass the day distracting them into other activities so I can accomplish more myself.

    THANKS Kage, for reminding me to spread the love I feel inside for my children into them.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 4/24/2006 11:17:00 AM  

  • Yes, thank you for this.
    posted by Blogger RCH at 4/24/2006 11:58:00 AM  

  • It's not just mom's eyes lighting up that brings a lump to my throat. I've babysat for a number of the little people in my ward; at one activity I noticed one of the little boys wander over to the pulpit (our ward building is a bit jury-rigged and the cultural hall and chapel are the same room) and so I went up the other side to meet him. His little face lit up like a Christmas tree and he came running over-- and I was just the babysitter! I still get a rush when I think about it. Your story of the woman who only lights up about work is so sad. It's so strange to think that someone could fail to react to the love, delight and need of a little person.

    So everyone should light up! Moms and kids! (Oh dear... I don't think that came out the way I meant it... O.O)
    posted by Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve at 4/24/2006 12:02:00 PM  

  • Kage, your sentiments are always so beautifully conveyed and inspiring as well. So glad my eyes did light up that day. Because I don't think they always do.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 4/24/2006 01:03:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the gentle reminder Kage. My eyes have been too grumpy lately, and my children deserve to see more happiness in my face... Lovely post.
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 4/24/2006 01:09:00 PM  

  • I am so glad that you finally posted this draft for others to read. Beautifully written as always and a great reminder. Of course I love my children but I doubt that my eyes show it everyday 24 hours a day. This reminds me to let what is truly in my heart light up my eyes. We are so blessed to have these remarkable spirits - I'm ready to light up.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 4/24/2006 01:50:00 PM  

  • What a sweet post! I think that 99% of the time my eyes do light up, and I am painfully aware of the moments when they don't. Motherhood is such a tremendous blessing (and challenge!). What makes my eyes light up even more is the fact that my DD's light up when she sees me! :)
    posted by Blogger Tandy at 4/24/2006 02:37:00 PM  

  • Thanks Kage. Reminds me, when I am trying to be supermom, that it is the little things that have the greatest impact on our children's lives.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 4/24/2006 03:45:00 PM  

  • What a great post. When I read it, I thought, "I can do THIS!" There are so many things as a mom I'm not great at....but it doesn't take superhero efforts and talents....just consistency.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 4/24/2006 06:43:00 PM  

  • So sweet. I second Carrie's reply. I'm seriously motivated to make tomorrow better. It's been a challenging week with kids (napping woes, big kid bed transitions, battle of wills, etc.--all during spring break so I had all kids all day) and I think my eyes were lit with fury more than love! Ha! Seriously, this post is so sweet and reminds me to just love those chubby cheekers and have fun.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 4/24/2006 06:55:00 PM  

  • Great post Kage. I have tried to remember to always accentuate the positive in my kids. I have to remind myself that I really do have great kids. When I was working with the YW (about the last 4 1/2 years!!) I realized how important it is to lift them up and praise them for the good things they are doing. We would go over and over all the things they weren't doing quite right (modesty, attitudes, etc.) These girls were going to school every day in a very difficult world. One in particular told a story of when her parents were harping on her about one thing or another and she said, you know what? I wish you could be at school with my and see how good I really am with all that I have to put up with! After that I always tried to congratulate and encourage them in the decisions they were making. I've tried to do that with my own children too.
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 4/25/2006 12:14:00 PM  

  • During my sealing a feeling of sadness came over me as I looked around and did not see my family (I am the only member in my family). As I scanned the room once more the feeling of sadness was erased by the look of pure love that came from eyes of the sealer’s wife. Her eyes radiated true light. As our eyes met I felt such love and comfort that even in the absence of all my family I knew I was loved.

    I strive to live my life accordingly so that I may be a comfort/light for someone with just a glance. It’s wonderful to know that as a Mom I get to do that for my little ones all day long if I don’t turn into a grump over something silly. I think the trick is remembering not to let the little things get to us and to stay focused on their sweet spirits.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 4/25/2006 12:46:00 PM  

  • I love this post. My husband makes a point to be excited every time he's been gone and then sees our little girls. We also do this when they wake up from their naps. He taught me to stop whatever I'm doing and to give them a big hug after we've been separated, whether it's a nap, or a trip to the store. It's hard some days to light up, but with practice it becomes second nature, and it brings excitement to little things that we as mothers take for granted. (Like a well rested two year old.)
    posted by Blogger Lacey at 4/25/2006 11:34:00 PM  

  • I'm hunting for the 'eyes light up' quote - better keep hunting.
    Best wishes
    posted by Blogger Maddy at 7/06/2008 04:39:00 PM  

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