Who’s going to see the look in her eyes once she’s gone?

Just a girl and her dad and their early morning serious sides. Yesterday, we dropped her off at kindergarten and the look in her eyes clenched our hearts with its tiny fists and pleaded with us not to leave her there. Today, the look in her eyes keeps us at a distance and tells us she wants to go. And this is just the way of it.


The way of it is we’re likely to tread heavily on each other’s nerves as she readies herself to leave. I’ve heard from enough who’ve gone before us to know there’s precise purpose in this phenomenon. The burgeoning conflict that’s likely to ensue between us will help her decide, yes, she really is ready to go. Ready enough. It will lead her dad and me by the hand to the resolution, yes, we’re ready for her to leave. Ready enough.


Years after my own mom dropped me off at college, she confided she had cried every day for three weeks straight. And then she stopped. So I know what’s coming and I know it will pass.


What I don’t know and what’s snagging my heart and pulling a loose thread each time this wonder comes too near is who will see the look in her eyes once she goes? It’s this uncertainty that calls forth a tear to form in the corner of each of my eyes, months before she’s due to leave. These tears stand ready at the gates as the forerunners to the others that hover on the verge of spilling out and unleashing the flow of the multitude right behind them.


We’ve seen the dazzling look of triumph in her eyes at winning and we’ve seen the look of despair at losing. We’ve seen the solaced look of acceptance and the anguished look of rejection. Who is going to see the look in her eyes once she’s gone?


We’ve seen the look in her eyes of determination, fear, pain, love, sickness, anxiety, elation, good health, apology, longing, confusion, humor, joy, unease and anticipation. Who is going to see all this in her eyes when we’re not there to see it anymore?


Who is going to see the look in her eyes and be able to respond in kind? Or with just the right amount of loving pushback or encouraging perspective? Who is going to hold her heart long enough for the look in her eyes to feel seen when we let go of being able to cradle it each day?


I just don’t know the answer to these questions. And neither does she. But she’s ready to leave and go learn them. And so we will get ourselves ready for her to go. Ready enough. And that’s just the way of it.


10 thoughts on “Who’s going to see the look in her eyes once she’s gone?

  1. The only time I have ever seen my dad cry is the day I pulled out of the driveway of my childhood home pulling a trailer of belongings that he had helped me packed. I will NEVER forget that day.
    I now think that may sum up the definition of parenthood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The overwhelm of the pinnacle of it all is really so astounding. I can understand now why you’ll never forget that moment, and why your dad never will either. Thanks for sharing that story. I can picture the whole of it and it’s heartbreakingly lovely.


  2. There’s a great poem by Khalil Gibran about children which starts like this:
    “…Your children are not your children.

    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

    They come through you but not from you,

    And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. ”

    The rest of it will make you cry too, but worth a Google. You are not alone ❤ G


  3. That’s beautiful Jodie. I would love to see Hallie’s eyes when she reads it. She will be fine out there in the world (more than fine) because you have done such a phenomenal job preparing her!


  4. Lucky me that my oldest is staying home for community college. So, for now she is still afoot, but that is just putting off the inevitable departure. Of which I often jest, how ready I am for that. Jest or not, that has always been my job, to get them ready to be self sufficient and functioning members of society. Who are hopefully kind and true, all the while being adventurous and bold with the life they are given. Heavy burden I joyfully accept everyday. Grace to you and yours.


  5. Makes me cry just thinking about her going. I know ,however, that she has been given all things possible and now it is time for her to spread her wings. I remember when your mom left as did Christi and Kelly left. It felt like everything was gone but it turned out ok (at least I think it did) Remember when you went too. Guess this is what life is all about.


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