Do you remember?
Do you remember sitting in that bar in college? Her talking to her friends, laughing, and having a good time? Do you remember her looking up and your eyes meeting? First for a second, then looking away, then back for a longer, more fixed stare, a smile, that smile. That smile said it all.
I thought about the different types of looks you get over time; how stages of your life dictate the kind of look you get. The look can simply be described as a connection on a deeper, more meaningful level than that which is normal. I believe the look over time comes in five different kinds:
- Mom or Dad
- A Dying Loved One
Mom or Dad
The first look you receive in life when you feel a deeper than normal connection is from your Mom and/or Dad. When I was a child, I would look deep into my mother’s eyes and see, no, know, how much she loved me. It was a longer than normal stare, an empathy, a knowing that all will be well under her care. Whether it was fixing a skinned knee, a tuck in at night, or her stare when she dropped me off at school, the first look told me all will be well in the world. I knew I could always count on her to be there for me when I got home.
Girlfriend or Boyfriend
As you grow older and start to spread your wings, you start to understand that interested parties have a different look. The look of interest, of new beginnings, of hormonal surcharges running through your body. It is indistinguishable and makes you feel a connection to another human in a very different way from your parents. But, nonetheless, this look is equally distinct and memorable.
Wife or Husband
As you mature, you and your spouse share a look. Your wedding day, the years before kids, and, although less frequently after you have children, it is equally as powerful. There are certainly times of lust, but, more often than not, it is an understanding: “I am bored, let’s leave. That guy is a jerk, do we really have to be here?” Your partner in holy matrimony knows you better than anyone else and you exchange that understanding as if speaking in your own language. Whether about kids, friends, or family, the knowing look says more than words ever could.
Then you have a child, or two, or three. For me the genesis of this article came when my eight-year-old found out I couldn’t be at his game because his brother had a game at the same time across town. He looked up at me, his eyes welled-up with tears and he said, “But I love when you come to my games.” My heart melts. I explain I love watching him play, but I can’t be in two places at once. He asked if I would miss one of his brother’s games to be at his game next time and when I said, of course, it seemed to make it all better. As long as I live, I will never forget my eight-year-old’s face when he found out I wouldn’t be at his game. It is a look that confirms you are his everything. It is confirmation from real-life, that another human loves you so deeply and wholly that it makes you stop in your tracks and remember what is truly important.
A Dying Loved One
And, finally, there is the look of a dying loved. For me, it was my best friend in the whole world, my grandfather. I knew he was dying, he knew he was dying, and I had to get back on a plane to LA. I kissed him and looked into his knowing eyes now filled with the storm clouds of dementia and he knew, I knew, we knew it would be the last time we would see each other… here. Not dissimilar to my mother’s look of love, my son’s look of longing for his dad, my grandfather told me everything I needed to know with that last look.
That he loved me. That he loved me and we will be together forever in a place, a place so much better than this.
Share the look with those you love in life.