A still, small gaze

Last night I sat for a while with an 11 month old baby in my lap. He sat calmly staring into my eyes for a long time- searching my face with his little fingers and then taking hold of my nose as if it were my hand. He seemed to have his own inner stillness while he studied my face and it amazed me. The memory of it even now calms me and simultaneously reminds me of the last living moments I had with my daughter.

What do babies know that we do not? What we know may be summed up in the vast amounts of information and stimulation that they have not yet experienced. Everything is right now. Need, joy, hunger, want, adventure, intimacy, sleep…..
Eventually they will learn the complexities, they will process what is big and confusing, they will chase after what is exciting and delicious. They will discover how much power they have and yet how little control.

Staring into the eyes of such a brand new person, all of the assumed expectations I put on myself dissolve. All of the broken ways of relating, fears of disappointing, hopes of impressing… those are all silent and I shrink down into the happy size of a baby in his red and white striped footy pajamas or the diapered perfection of my 12 hour old little girl. Nothing erases or tarnishes these moments and nothing keeps them from existing right now when I need a little stillness and calm.

Just like a toddler I careen through emotions and wants but, like a baby, I hope to look deep into the eyes of my Father and find the stillness of being Present and not alone.

4 thoughts on “A still, small gaze”

  1. Thank you for your post. Your question has me thinking and I’ve been thinking about it a long time – “What do babies know that we do not?” One thing I think the little ones know is how to experience this moment devoid of any other thought or emotion. Little ones know how to be present in a way that seems almost impossible at times for adults.

    The “nose shake” that you experienced is something I believe is fundamental to babies. They do not experience the separation between themselves and others or other things that we experience. Their experience is pure and as it is right now. They can somehow switch from an experience of pain or delight into the immediate moment and they do this constantly. Babies seem to have some of the challenges of life figured out. They are present and do not seem to figure in the past or future into their assessment. Your nose or hand is interesting so they reach out and touch because it is interesting and they trust you.

    With trust they love what seems to be just about everything. And they have that love written all over their pj’s.

    Thanks again for your post and thank you for your photo.

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