Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eyes to See

“Mommy, I want to help.”
            My niece, Jenni, turned and watched as her three-year old daughter came running through the door into the nursery.  Below on the changing table in front of Jenni was her one-month old infant.      

            “Wait Mommy.  I want to see.”

            Her three-year old daughter pushed a little step stool over to the end of the table and pulled herself up.  Her head came up just high enough for her eyes to clear the top of the table.  She watched her mother unsnapped the onesie on the infant and then undo the diaper.

            “I like watching you change baby Charley,” the little girl said.  “Yellow is my favorite color.” 

            Not many moms think of changing a diaper as an opportunity to gaze at their favorite color, but a three-year old little girl still has eyes to see beauty all around her.

            I love the story of world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, playing on a $3.5 million Stradivari violin for 45 minutes in a subway station in Washington D.C. as thousands of people passed by barely noticing him.  One of the few individuals who did stop and listen was a three-year old child.  Sadly after just a few minutes the child’s mother scooted him along.

            Gene Weingarten’s article, “Pearls Before Breakfast” detailed the incident in the Washington Post on April 8, 2007.  His article won a Pulitzer Prize.  The plaintive question the article posed was, “Do you have time for beauty?”

            Have I seen beauty recently?  Two sweet-faced sixth grade boys stood at attention in front of my desk.

            “What do we do now?  We finished our worksheet.”  There was still five minutes of class left.  It was 7th period, and it was Friday.

            “You can just draw on the whiteboard if you want.”

            Getting a free pass from the teacher to draw on the whiteboard is like winning the million-dollar lottery for a sixth grader.  The boys couldn’t even move for several seconds.  They just stood there grinning at me.  As I looked at their happy faces, I was transported back 20 years and saw my own sons grinning in total delight over a simple unexpected pleasure.  If I had kept my eyes on the computer screen checking my email, I would have completely missed it.

            What beautiful color, or music, or memory did you miss today?

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