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A Gaze That Says More Than Words Ever Could

Courtesy Heather St. Clair

I come home from work exhausted. My youngest son Brian is standing by the television, rewinding the same five seconds of a movie over and over again. He is jumping, flapping, grinning, and emitting a happy squeal almost too high for human ears to hear.

I greet him and try to solicit a hug. He’s so engrossed in the same movie quote that he doesn’t seem to hear or see me. He repeats the line over and over again. Today it’s, “To infinity and beyond!”

I give up and head to the kitchen to start dinner while my oldest child tells me about his school day. 

A few minutes elapse and Brian ambles into the kitchen where he starts squealing and flapping all over again, as he finally realizes I’m home. “Mom, Mom, Mom”, he repeats. I put my arms out for a hug and he scoots in for his signature backwards hug. 

After a second he turns around and puts both of his hands on my cheeks, looks intensely into my eyes, and again repeats “Mom, Mom, Mom.” This is how he greets me every evening.

He’s eight years old. This is the extent of our communication. I sometimes cry myself to sleep knowing my child can’t tell me his basic needs. I hate that he has no one calling for play dates. I worry constantly about his future. Will he be independent? Will he be happy?

However, this evening routine of him connecting with me in his own unique way—gazing into my eyes with that glow—never fails to amaze me. For that moment, I can stop worrying. That gaze says more than words ever could. I marvel at how quickly he refreshes me, no matter how tired I am from the day.

By Heather St. Clair, Mom of Corbin, 10, and Brian, 8