Wednesday, March 29, 2006


"Pretty eyes. Pretty blue eyes. Big pretty blue eyes. Blue-sky blouse eyes...Morning Glory blue eyes." --Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye--

Blue eyes...I never thought I would raise three children with blue eyes. We are a genetic anomaly in this house. Mama, classic "brown-eyed-girl"...Daddy-o, a seaglass blue. In ninth grade biology, my class did the Skinner's Boxes to demonstrate the dominant and recessive properties of the genetic codes. I loved this exercise--sorting the incomprehensible into clear categories of possibility. Statistically, out of four children, M. and I should have had one blue eyed child, two recessive carriers--brown expressing, and one brown-eyed baby who could never make a blue-eyed one down the line no matter what she wished for. But, as the children will tell you now, no one has brown eyes here "except for Mom and the dog". This was something I always thought about as a young girl--how I wished for blue-blue-blue eyes to contradict my dark-dark hair. My entire family was brown-eyed like me, so I didn't have to envy anyone directly. Cousins, aunts, and uncles may have been blue--but, my brothers, my sister, my parents and I? No. Van Morrison's love song "Brown eyed girl" did much to ease my longing for blue eyes, and I've always appreciated that the object of his affection wasn't blue eyed--because that would have been much too easy.

By the time I was pregnant with Rosie, we had already had two blue-eyed children and I was certain of two things. This baby would have brown eyes just like mine--and would also be a boy named Eoin because I had a dream that said as much. Well, as reliable as dreams may be--I gave birth to a big beautiful girl with a thicket of dark hair and a pair of gray eyes I knew all too well from her siblings. She would be another shockingly blue-eyed girl set loose on the world to break boys' hearts with one flutter of her raven wing lashes. I cannot be held responsible for this.

My boy-o has eyes the same color as his father's. That beach glass, ocean blue that snagged me up in his nets once upon a time ago and hauled me up onto dry land. He stared intently at me as I spoke with those dangerous blue eyes of his and it was a Siren's song I couldn't resist. This may happen yet to any number of girls who meet with my son, whose quick compliments and cerulean blue eyes have already stirred up some scuffles among the princesses of his recess yard.

Petunia started it all for me...that powerful robin's egg blue of her eyes as an infant startled me out of myself and into the throes of motherhood. In those days, I would have done anything to keep her blue eyes lit with that spark of her laughter. Her eyes knew something--and they knew me. She has been wise from the moment she looked my way, and I have been in awe. When she was born and blue eyed at a just a few months old, I remember thinking, "Well, her eyes are lovely, but don't get too attached, they say babies' eyes can change color until they're a year old." Hers didn't. I thought this again with the two babies to follow--but, they all assumed their own shade of brilliant blue.

When they sit together at the kitchen table, blue-bells in a row, I am still as amazed as I was when I saw the cosmos in their father's crystal irises. The North Star, the Moon, the eclipsing of myself in the reflection of his blue eyes...In Toni Morrison's Nobel Prize winning novel, the main character, "prays every night without fail to find blue eyes by morning". I did the same, and when I woke--I saw that I would carry blue eyes in my body--and not just one pair of my own either. Three sets passing through me and out into the wild world. I see blue now and I has answered.

MamaSaysOm's theme this week...BLUE.


Blogger andrea said...

Your post was one of the most remarkable I have read in awhile. It took my breath away. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful work of words.
As a mother to 3 sets of ocean blue and one set of green grass I related on so many levels. Thank you!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Andrea, Thank you so much for the beautiful comment and the link on your site. Your visual talents are quite amazing...

9:49 AM  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

I love the way you wrote this. Absolutely beautiful!

6:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.