What Are You Looking At? Ohhh…Now I Get It!

In honor of Father’s Day, this article is dedicated to my Dad, who is filled with so much love, affection and pride.

It’s amazing how certain things puzzle you growing up but end up making sense later on in life.  As a child, young adult, and even now at 38 years old, I would, and still do catch my father staring at me.  I would always question this glare and often tell him to stop.  It was usually expressed something like this, (insert whiny teenage voice here), “DAAAD, STOOOOOP!  You are soooo annoying!”  As I got older, I realized there were years of memories behind those stares, disbelief that the years had gone by so quickly, and a feeling of love that was indescribable.

I know this to be true because I have the same feelings as I stare at my own three children.  Once as my son caught me doing it, he responded with,  (insert whiny seven year old voice), “Mom, what are you looking at?  Stooop staring at me!”.  It clicked.  Oh my G-d! I had finally figured it out and had my “Aha” moment.  From this moment on, I would now return my father’s look of love with a smile and a hug, instead of a scowl and a roll of the eyes.

As I look at my own kids in disbelief, I understand how this look can cause embarrassment, frustration and a puzzled expression on their end.  For me, I want to remember a particular moment and take a snapshot in my head that I can access at any time in the future.  I am so in love with my kids that sometimes, words aren’t enough, and all I can do to express myself is look at what my husband and I created in awe.

It’s so easy to forget what a miracle having a child is.  It becomes part of a timeline of what we expect for many of us growing up, and as time goes by, the excitement becomes overshadowed by busy schedules, work, school and life.  I feel like my dad was able to put all that aside, look at me, and really appreciate what he had brought into this world.  Back then I was too young, too naive and too stubborn to realize he was looking at me because he knew how lucky he was (if I don’t say so myself), how blessed he was, and how happy being a father made him.

I try not to let my kids catch me staring at them because I know it just annoys them, from experience, but I sneak it in when they are not looking.  I know when they become parents, they will understand and look back only to realize what these gazes meant to me.  I wonder if my father ever caught his father looking at him in awe?  I will definitely have to investigate that!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to my sweet and wonderful Dad and all the dads out there.  Next time you express yourself with a fixed look at your child out of love, you might just be passing along a pretty cool tradition that will be used by generations to come.