As I look behind me, I can see what lies ahead. When I gaze into my rear view mirror, I see my future. I see a little man, who at the age of three, loves to sing along to his favorite songs and have the sunroof opened wide because he likes the feeling of the wind in his hair. And with the help of a little mirror that is fastened to the back of her seat, I see a baby girl, who is twirling her little feet and happily chewing on her pacifier. I remember who they were as infants, and I see who they are now in their reflections. But more importantly, I can envision who they will become.
It is so ironic that so much of my past is made up of looking at myself in the mirror. When I was a little girl, I would examine my features to determine whether I looked more like my mom or my dad. In middle school, I spent hours trying to make sense of my suddenly curly hair. In high school, college and beyond, I stood in front of the mirror before countless dances, dates and interviews. Now I am a mother, and when I look into the mirror, I look past my own reflection to watch my children. They are the best reflection of who I am. They are an extension of me. They are my present and my future. I am their Momma, and they are so much a part of me that when I look at them, I see myself more clearly than ever before.
Alex has the biggest brown eyes. And to this day when I look in my rear view mirror, I can see that tiny baby I brought home from the hospital on that cold December day. He wore a knit hat on his head and his bright eyes took in his surroundings as we drove home from the hospital. From that moment I knew he was never going to miss a thing. Now three and a half years later, he is a boy, no longer a baby, but those eyes are the same. They are the windows to his emotions. When he is content, the joy can be seen in his eyes first before a smile even reaches his lips, and when he is angry, his eyebrows tell the story of his woe. In his eyes, I glimpse the baby he was and the man he will become. Alex is strong-willed and intelligent. He has to have things his way. As I spend my days trying to instill in him the importance of sharing, flexibility, and tolerance, I know what tries my patience is part and parcel of him being a little boy. But as I watch him in the rear view mirror and listen to his constant chatter, I can see that his independence, his determination and his stubbornness will always be a part of him. I envision him in elementary school working on a science project and getting frustrated when the outcome does not work out as he was sure it would. Then he is in high school unwavering in his efforts to get into the best college. Once he is there, he is in class arguing an issue and refusing to back down because he believes to be right, because after all, Alex is always right. I also witness the loyal, loving and empathetic Alex. He sings to his sister and makes her laugh as only he can. When she cries, he tells her, “It is okay, I am right here.” He will always be her protector, I know that. He will grow up taking care of his sister, as he will one day take care of his own wife and children. My heart wrenches as I see us dancing on his wedding day. Then he is there as a husband and a father, full patience and devotion and the drive to give them the best life has to offer.
Isabella’s eyes are the brightest blue. People constantly stop me everywhere I go to comment on her striking eyes. “Look at those eyes.” I do. Every chance I get. I am still trying to learn about her, and her eyes teach me something new everyday. I look at her reflection, and her eyes show me she is smiling even though she has the pacifier in her mouth. The day we brought her home from the hospital was as sizzling as Alex’s homecoming was frigid. I looked in the mirror and saw her tiny face and could not believe I had been blessed with another healthy, beautiful child. Images flash. I picture her chasing after her big brother. He is going to teach her all he knows: the good and the bad. Isabella is a Momma’s Girl from the minute she wakes up until I kiss her goodnight. If she is fussy in the car, all I have to do is start talking to her. My voice settles her; her eyes smile. As she grows, I know I will be the one who makes everything better. I am her Momma. I see drama and mischief in those eyes. She is going to give me a bit of trouble here and there. She is going to put her hands on her hips and tell me no. Isabella is very social, and I have a feeling she will have a lot of friends. She is sensitive. Her eyes can go from smiling to tear-filled in a matter of seconds. I can see some tears in her future, but I will be right there to dry them, and Alex will be right there to defend her. My breath catches as I see her walk down the aisle in a gown of white. Her husband and children will know exactly how much she loves them by looking into her eyes. Those blue eyes I see smiling at me everyday in the mirror will light up each and every time she looks at them. She will look at them with the adoration and devotion that only a mother can have.
I know that as I continue down the road with my children, there will be changes. Alex will graduate from a car seat to a booster to the back row of the minivan where he will sit with his buddies. Isabella will twirl her feet on the way to soccer practice and ballet recitals. But I know for sure that there will be a constant in our lives. When I look into that rearview mirror, I will be looking into their eyes. A boy with eyes of brown and a girl with eyes of blue, both miracles, manifestations of the person who loves them most, their Momma.