We were babysitting our youngest grandson, Adler, for an afternoon while our daughter Becca made some sales calls. Three-year-old Adler was napping upstairs in his bedroom when his mommy came home, and my husband John was in the living room chatting on the phone with an out of town friend.
Becca came into the dining room and sank into one of the chairs. “So, Mom, how do you feel about cross-stitching one more baby quilt?” She had tears in her eyes as she told me she’d just come from the doctor’s office and her pregnancy had been confirmed.
I hugged her in disbelief and sat down next to her to take in all the particulars, glancing over her shoulder at my husband talking away, oblivious to what was going on behind him, and I consciously willed him to finish his conversation. I needed to see his eyes.
He finally walked into the room, asking what all the hubbub was about. “Becca has news for you, Grandpa,” I whispered because tears were now streaming down her face. He looked at her and his eyes registered before he even said a word. Those wonderful, piercing, expressive green eyes that have my compass through our life together. They were glistening as he said, “Well, well, well, baby girl. Congratulations.”
I remember my mother sharing with me years ago that she never took her eyes off the groom’s face at weddings. “Of course, you have to turn toward the bride for a minute,” she said, “but don’t miss out on the best part. Watch the look on the groom’s face. It’s never disappointed me.” And she was so right.
John’s eyes were the first thing I remember about him when he was introduced in freshman Algebra class. I tried so hard in high school to attract his attention, just to see those eyes smiling at me. Because when there were looking at me, I felt so very special.
I could tell when he was upset, or nervous, sad or ready to take on the world just from the look in his eyes, and I loved that. His eyes ever so slowly became my home. The night he told me he loved me, I saw the truth of his words shining in his eyes when the Christmas lights on my family’s front porch blinked on and off.
And when he proposed, the look was one of uncertainty, hope and finally, elation. My eyes never left his, of course, as I walked toward him down the aisle as we were married. They were true and strong and welcoming, with just a little dose of charming disbelief tossed into the mix. He had won me. His eyes led me to our future that day, and I’ve never felt so loved.
Whenever I’ve felt uncertain, those eyes have shown me the path.
I remember my disbelief when I thought I was expecting our first child. John smiled and making our family a threesome seemed the most rational thing in the world. How could I have ever questioned that was the way it would be? And I’m so grateful I was blessed to see that look three more times in our lives, along with just a hint of shock at the revelation that we were going to have a fourth baby. The small company he was part owner of had just canceled maternity coverage in the interest of saving money because no one was planning to have any more children. His eyes laughed as he held me and told me it was going to be all right. And he never lied to me.
Through parents’ passings and the tough times that life throws into every life, his arms and his love have been there. His eyes shone with pride at each of our children’s college graduations, with unbridled love at their weddings, with disbelief in the glory of each of our seven grandchildren’s births.
So, back we come full-circle to the announcement that there was another baby quilt to be stitched. As hard as it is for even me to believe, John’s eyes held even more love and expectation three weeks later when Becca sent us a copy of her first ultrasound in response to my question of, “Was he/she smiling?”
Her simple reply at the bottom of the ultrasound was, “They both were.”
Once again, the very best part was looking into my husband’s eyes as he grinned, laughed and cried at the same time. “You’re going to be busy making two quilts at the same time! My God, we’ve shared it all, haven’t we?”
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