Does your face light up?

Maybe minus the crow's feet?

I’ve discussed my love for all things Oprah at length here on The Woven Moments (here and here and here and here).  I’m sad that the show is ending this week but I’m comforted that my beloved “O” magazine will continue to arrive monthly.

As the show winds down, Oprah has been reliving some of her most memorable moments and she touched on one that has stayed with me ever since I first saw it back in the fall of 2000.

 

(Source)

The show featured Toni Morrison (one of my favorite American authors) discussing her book du jour.  But the thing that stuck with me was her wisdom about acknowledging loved ones,

 

When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up.

You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. But if you let your face speak what’s in your heart…because when they walked in the room, I was glad to see them.

It’s just as small as that, you see.

 

(More on this show here:  Oprah’s greatest lessons)

Even though I wasn’t a parent at the time, these words stuck with me.  Back then, I incorporated into my budding relationship with B by being sure to smile whenever he walked in the room.  I embraced the concept with my students and made sure I was standing at the door, looking each one in the eye and smiling as they filed in for the day.

As a parent to one child, it was easier.  Whenever Peanut walked (or crawled or toddled) into the room, I stopped what I was doing and said, “Look who’s here!” or something equally as inviting.

I still do it when picking up my kids from school/day care.  Nothing quite beats the feeling of seeing your child’s face break into a grin when they see you come around the corner.  Pumpkin does a full on dance, hopping from one foot to the other until I can scoop her up.  It’s priceless.

But there are other moments when I don’t succeed.  Moments when I’m engrossed in a book, the computer, a phone call.  Moments when I’m busy being something other than super mom.

I hate admitting that these moments exist.

I wish I could say that every single time Peanut shows me a pencil drawing or trinket sculpture that I drop what I’m doing and marvel at her work.  I wish I couldn’t tell you that Pumpkin gets my undivided attention every time she yells MAMA! from the other room.

I can’t.

Because every moment is a woven moment; each one is a tangle of personal motivation and parental/marital responsibility.  Some moments I prioritize well, some I don’t.

I believe that my words will help set the tone for my children’s own self-talk.  So what I tell Peanut about herself today will eventually help form what she believes about herself in the future.

And if actions speak louder than words, then my facial expression could mean even more.

The show is a great reminder to check myself and make sure I’m wearing on my face what I feel in my heart; that every moment with my girls is a gift.

THIS is the face I want my kids to see, at least once, every day:

 

Maybe minus the crow's feet?

 

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14 comments
April
April

I dont have kiddos, but I love the basic message of this-- just because you love someone doesn't mean they automatically know how much. It sounds simple, but like you (so refreshingly honestly) described, it takes a lot of effort! Maybe, hopefully, this is one of those things that gets easier with practice...?

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

I think it's about the CONSTANT reminder. One day it's Toni Morrison reminding me...another day I read it somewhere online...another day it's in one of my daily spiritual readings. I have to see the reminder in lots of different ways and then it sticks...for that one day.

Anne Keo
Anne Keo

Thanks for sharing Toni Morrison's words of wisdom as well as what they meant to you and how you've used them. I'm going to start doing that with my family. What a perfect way to always show my love for them.

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

If you like Toni Morrison's words, you should check out her BOOKS!! If you haven't already, run (don't walk) to the library and check out Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Jazz. Good stuff. Thanks for reading!

Abby
Abby

I love Oprah! And this show was one of my most memorable, too. Even though I don't have kids, I make an effort to let my "eyes light up" when my husband gets home from work, or when I see my folks on the weekend, even with my cats. And I've found that it doesn't just make THEM feel loved, it makes ME feel more open to receiving love back from them! Great post! Will you be watching the 2nd surprise show in a little while? I will--I've already got my box of tissues ready. :)

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

I'm saving all three of the last shows together tomorrow. And probably scheduling therapy for Thursday. :)

Theresa Gahagan
Theresa Gahagan

A simple and great reminder. Was convicted of this very topic this weekend. Critical words = insecure children. If they cannot feel safe and unconditional love from home they will seek it out elsewhere! Grace and Love from our hearts! <3

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

So true. And I don't want my kids having to go anywhere else for unconditional love. Of course they CAN but I don't want them to HAVE TO. Big distinction!

Jamie
Jamie

I loved this :) Do you know that Snooki got paid more than Toni Morrison to speak at Rutgers graduation!! Process that for a minute.

Joanna
Joanna

I am enjoying your blogs ... They speak well to me! Keep sharing! Hugs!

Michele
Michele

Awesome message, Ryan!! Thanks so much for your writing - I needed this reminder today!!

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

I need this reminder EVERY DAY. :) Thanks for reading (as always)!