A few years back Martina McBride sang the song “In My Daughter’s Eyes.” I love that tune and every time I hear it on the radio find myself getting teary-eyed. You can find a lot out about someone by looking into their eyes; many believe the eyes are the windows to the soul.
I have four daughters who I absolutely adore. Yes, I have my moments when I’m irritable, short on patience, and don’t give them the attention they need or deserve. But in my moments of sanity (which, thankfully, outnumber my moments of insanity) I look into their eyes and see who they are, who I am, and who I need to be.
In my 12-year-old’s eyes I see a girl becoming a woman, establishing her independence. I see passion and a love for life. There are world’s of ideas and adventures and things to do in those eyes. I see a daughter who loves her dad and more and more is wanting him to see her as more than just his little girl. She wants to be respected and trusted and given more freedoms. But most of all I still see innocence there, which I’m thankful for and want to keep that way as long as I can.
In my 11-year-old’s eyes I see questions, lots of them. Questions about the world around her and how justice works, how love works, how relationships work. I see questions about me: Am I the man I say I am? Will my health fail again? Will I continue to provide for her, for the family? I see a yearning to be accepted and loved for who she is, no strings attached. But most of all I see a tenderness and vulnerability and thoughtfulness there that is refreshing and in many ways inspiring.
In my 9-year-old’s eyes I see mischief and imagination. When she looks at me I see a desire to please her daddy, to make him proud. I see a drive to be somebody more than just the little sister, to make her own stand and be her own person. In her eyes I find genuine kindness and generosity, a heart that wants to serve. I see a childlike playfulness tempered by perseverance and toughness well beyond her years. But most of all I see joy, a heart that loves life despite it’s difficulties, that presses on and finds the ability to smile and brighten a room no matter how dim the lights get.
In my 9-month-old’s eyes I find a sense of wonder as she studies my face, every line, every whisker, every blemish. I find love that can only come from a heart of innocence, unscathed by life as we grown-ups know it. Hers are the eyes of discovery and exploration and awe, seeing the world for the first time, experiencing sensations never before felt or heard or tasted. But most of all I see trust and am humbled to tears by the awesome responsibility I’ve been given.
In my daughters’ eyes I see a challenge . . . to be the man, the father, the husband to their mother, I ought to be, the man they need and deserve. But mostly I find love. Unconditional. Unearned. Unbelievable.
And I’m so thankful for it.