My daughter will be one in a matter of days, and she has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. They’re blue, like her father’s and my own. They’re full of wonder, and they light up when they hear a familiar song or see a puppy dog. However, that’s not what I mean when I tell you about those eyes. My definition of beautiful eyes comes from a famous Audrey Hepburn quote I’m sure you’ve heard, “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others . . .”
Those kinds of eyes describe my toddler daughter to a T.
Born in the middle of the pandemic, we stayed in our little cocoon of a house for the first several months. But when I tell you that girl blossomed when she finally got to burst out of the cocoon, I mean it with all my heart.
Trips to the grocery store became the highlight of my day because I got to watch her light up meeting a new friend. I didn’t want to go anywhere without my chipper, little sidekick because it was just more fun with her around. I consider myself an outgoing, social butterfly, but I don’t hold a candle to my mini socialite. But, being social doesn’t make you beautiful (certainly this is true according to Audrey), so what is the point of me droning on and on about my social baby?
To shine light on the kind of eyes we should all aspire to have.
It happened in, you guessed it, the grocery store. My daughter had just really become animated and taken her interactions with passersby to a whole new level. The first new friend she made was a polished, highlighted blonde, older than me, possibly a mother to a teenager or college student, holding an ever-so-coveted Louis Vuitton bag on her slender but toned and tan arm. This is someone I might normally feel intimidated by—in my messy mom bun, rocking my postpartum, baggy clothes (long after it was time to put those away). I remember thinking, “Please not her, baby. Pick someone else, less put together.”
But, my sweet girl. She cooed and squealed until she got the lady’s attention, and the lady smiled at the both of us and said with misty eyes, “She’s lovely. I’m marrying off my only daughter this weekend. It goes so fast, don’t blink.”
After she walked away, I looked at my smiling baby and whispered, “How did you know? How did you know she needed your smile today, girl?”
The next encounter was with a man who was a sharp contrast from our first friend. For starters, his clothes were worn, he had the hands of a hard worker, and well . . . no LV bag in sight. He didn’t look me in the eye as we awkwardly passed each other heading to the checkout line. Rather, he stared down. It was evident life had handed him a hard hand of cards recently, and I felt sad for him, not knowing why. My daughter, facing him in the shopping cart seat, started doing her thing again. Squealing, laughing, smiling. I felt my cheeks grow hot and I thought, “No, baby, not him. He is having a hard day and doesn’t seem to want to talk to you.”
And then, my little stinker threw her bottle on the floor—grinning at him, peeking around me, to pick it up for her. I was about to reach for it when he bent down and said, “If it’s all right, I’ll get it, ma’am.”
I smiled appreciatively as he handed the bottle to me. She clapped in delight, and I thanked him and said to her, for him to hear as well, “What a nice friend you’ve made!” He beamed and his entire demeanor changed.
He stood up a little straighter, this meeting seeming to give him a breath of fresh air, initiated by an 8-month-old who chose to play a game with him.
These interactions happen frequently now. No matter the skin color, evident disability or not, clothes on their back, or look on their face—my darling daughter is determined to show kindness to all. And so I pray. Lord, may I never stop her from befriending the friendless. May I continue to give her opportunities to make friends with those who look, act, speak differently from her. And Lord, if it’s possible, give me those beautiful eyes.