I was there the first time you belly laughed. You found something uproariously funny and as that laugh bubbled up and sheer happiness burst from your chubby baby face, your mom’s face lit up. She hung up the phone and gave her full attention to you. (She was making an appointment for you and had just gotten through to someone after 15 minutes on hold, but that hardly mattered anymore.)

You laughed and chuckled and giggled and squealed. Your mom laughed right along with you, her eyes bright, her attention never wavering from you. You were totally connected, delighting in each other. It was a moment I’ll never forget and I feel honored to have been there to witness it.

And I think there was a reason I was there: to remind you that your mother delights in you.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen you both struggle to communicate. I’ve seen your opposing ideas, thoughts, and wills come up against each other in flushed faces, streaming tears, slammed doors, and strained silences. I’ve read anger and sorrow on both of your faces and it feels like a long time since I’ve seen the mutual exuberant joy of that first moment you laughed together.

But I promise this: your mother delights in you still.

When she talks to me about how smart you are, what a beautiful young lady you are becoming, how kind you are to your brother, what a good friend you are, and how funny you are, her eyes show that same sparkle they did the day you first laughed with her.

And while that sparkle shows up when she speaks of you, you need to know that it isn’t there because of what you do. It’s not there because she witnessed you being kind or because you mastered a new skill or got an A.

The sparkle is there simply because she delights in you.

Not in what you accomplish or how you behave, simply because you are you. It’s just as it was in the moment you first laughed. I was there. It was a great laugh. It made me giggle and smile and feel happy, but that was nothing compared to what I saw in your mother at that moment. For her, it was a moment of pure wonder and complete devotion. She lost herself in that moment of delighting in you just being you. And that wonder and devotion? It has never left her.

I know it’s hard right now. That sparkle may be hard to see in this season of your lives, but I promise you it never went anywhere. Look harder. Ask your mom about that moment—about all the pure, sparkle moments of your firsts. Watch her talk and you’ll see it in her eyes. Sneak a peek at her watching you do something you excel at or something you’ll enjoy.

You’ll see it in her eyes.

I know communicating is difficult now and I’m confident it will get easier and you’ll find your way back to that feeling of the first laugh together, but until then hold on to the good moments, look for that sparkle in her eyes, and remember: your mother delights in you.

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Anne Metz

Anne Metz works part time as a freelance writer and spends the other part getting kids off the bus, breaking up fights, doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning up after her son and triplet daughters. For fun she enjoys whistling loudly and just slightly off key and eating meals that other people prepare for her. She is passionate about sharing her struggles with mothering to let other moms know they aren't alone in this journey. You can find more of her work on her blog: www.onceuponamom.net