Thursday, January 30, 2014

Brown-eyed Girl

"I want blue eyes like Isabella."

I couldn't understand what she was saying at first. Maddie always wants what Isabella has, and usually gets it because she's difficult to reason with (because THREE YEARS OLD and AUNT OF THE YEAR). We were out to dinner, and I thought she was saying blue ice, a la Walter White, but it didn't make any sense because no one had any blue ice.  No one had any blue anything - we were at a Mexican hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The Corona label was blue, but nothing else.

She pointed to Isabella's face. "No, I want blue eyes like Isabella." She asked for it as though she wanted the same kind of plate Isabella had, or the same stuffed animal, as though it was something I could easily give her, and why wouldn't I, because she had asked so politely?

I hugged her. "Oh honey, you have brown eyes. You have beautiful, perfect brown eyes."

Her lip quivered and she looked into MY eyes. "No, I want BLUE eyes like Aunt Katie and Isabella." I pointed out that Aunt Gina has brown eyes too, but that wasn't good enough for her in that moment. She cried real tears at the inability to pick her eye color. Gina suggested we ask Dr. Jordan the next time we see her if she and Isabella can switch eyes, and I said I'd pretend to switch with her right now. She (magically) calmed down.

I'm not ready for this. I'm not anywhere near ready to hear this perfect little girl complain about her body in any way. And about her eyes of all things! Arguably one of her best features. Shaped like her mother's and the color of her father's, they are large and deep and expressive.  They are the strongest indicator of her mixed ethnicity. She's all big-and-round-headed just like her mom and her aunts were when they were babies, and she's got the chubby cheeks and the ridiculous grin we all had too, but her eyes - they are what set her apart, in the best way. They are the brown eyes people write about and sings songs about. When she's an adult (like 30 or so, because she's not allowed to date before then), her partners will fall in love with those eyes.  I fell in love with those eyes the minute I met her. And no matter how big she gets, no matter how far away from me she is, whenever I see her, I'll be able to look into those eyes and remember the little girl that changed my life and made me whole.

I'd try to reach up and grab a star for her if she asked, but I'd never change her eyes to blue even if I could, no matter how much she begged. They're just too perfect as is, and I know I won't be the last to tell her.


Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I can remember being younger and wishing for brown eyes, too. However, over the years I grew out of being envious of what other have and have embraced what I do have. Maddie will, too. After all, she has lots of great people in her life that will convince her of that very fact.

Lisa Davis

Babs said...

This reminds me of a story from my mentor, a best-selling author, who was friends with Toni Morrison. Toni told her about this time Oprah wanted to buy the film rights to "The Bluest Eye" so she came out to visit. When Toni saw her, Oprah was wearing those creepy purple contact lenses that she wore sometime in the 90s. Toni was shocked and thought, "I don't think she gets it." It doesn't matter if your a baby or an adult, a prince or a pauper, you will always want the things you can't have. Some of us get lucky, grow up, and realize that we are enough the way we are. Until then, it's going to be fun for you to watch the education of Maddie. She sounds like a kid with a lot of spirit.