31 January 2011

your optimistic eyes seem like paradise

It's rare that I look at Emma and don't wish I knew what she was thinking. But no parent gets that privilege, and so I'd happily settle for a short conversation. Spontaneous language, instead of a script. That she could answer  my "how was your day" with the simplest "okay." I'd probably burst into tears, just like I did when her daycare teacher said, "Bye, Emma," and Emma returned, "Bye, Leslie!"

In other moments, it's not the words I'm wondering about. Sometimes, I'd just give anything to know what those huge blue eyes of hers are seeing.

Tonight, at the dinner table, she was happily munching her waffle, delicately licking off the apricot preserves before she started to chew. And then she went still, all her attention suddenly focused on the drinkable yogurt in her right hand. She tilted her head, closed her right eye, and squinted ferociously, her lips curving into a pleased half-smile after a few seconds of scrutiny. Apparently what she saw - whatever it was - satisfied her curiosity, because she set the yogurt down and returned to eating. 

I want to see through her eyes and know what the world looks like to my girl. What she sees that I don't or can't. What colors look like to her, though she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that she can differentiate between them. What knowledge she can glean from a squint and a new angle.

I try so hard to anticipate her reactions - avoid the things I know will set her off, fill her days with whatever's likeliest to earn that joyful giggle. But I can't filter my view so that it matches hers. I don't know why she's suddenly afraid of the TV, to the point that when it's on, she will tiptoe no farther into the living room than the very edge of the entertainment center, and when she cranes her neck to see the screen, she claps both hands over her eyes and retreats.

Maybe, though, the point isn't that I don't understand the hows and whys of Emma. Maybe the point is that I'll never stop wanting to.

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