As of today, Parker Pearson has been on this Earth for six years. Through all of the birthday parties (I believe she has had 14 over those six years), soccer games, dance classes, gymnastics classes, baseball and soccer practices, Disney movies, One Direction videos, bounce houses, questions involving "Daddy, why...." and "Daddy, How come....?" and improperly told 'Knock-Knock' jokes, first and foremost, I think of her eyes.
Yes, they are beautiful eyes but I think of them because of what those formerly blue and now green eyes have done for me.
To be honest, I was always aware there were children in the world and I actually was pretty good at entertaining kids when I was around them. It was just that when it came to children, I mostly just looked over the top of them and did not see any reason to pay attention to them. I treated children kind of like a fraternity guy treated the fairly cute girl they are talking to at the party as they scan around looking for the better looking girl across the room.
I did a nice job pretending to find a child's story about their friend, uncle or dog interesting enough to say, "Really?", "Oh, that's pretty cool," and I could sometimes even work up a "Wow!" but seeing any value in spending time with a kid was lost on me.
Parker Pearson changed all of that. Her eyes changed all of that.
Yes, the day she was born was a magical and somewhat terrifying moment. What was I supposed to do with this tiny human?! I actually found I could handle this easily because for the first year or so I could be entertaining, change diapers and feed her. That part is easy.
Those eyes got to me when she started observing things and asking those "Why?" questions and I could not give a generic answer and move on. Parker Pearson basically demanded that I listen, look her in those eyes and give her something of myself.
The sincerity in her eyes as she asked why Pete the Cat was so nice on "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" but was so mean when we found an old cartoon forced me to look deeply into how that was possible.
The fact that Parker had tears in those eyes in 2012 because she did not understand why President Obama and Mitt Romney could not just take turns being President was one of the more complex questions.
Seeing how serious those eyes could be when a couple of her friends ignored her and snuck away from her because they wanted to go off and play by themselves was nothing short of heartbreaking and inspiring. My eyes widened as she used those eyes to stare them down and say, "I just want to tell you that was not very nice and we should all play together!"
My happiness has no bounds when those eyes get really wide with anticipation of the moment when I am singing "Hey Jude" to her and it turns into a slow build until the part of the song when McCartney would be singing "Hooooooo" and I tickle her until she simply can not handle the happiness she is feeling at that moment.
Then, there are the eyes that are all about mischief. They usually involve our running jokes that all seem to be designed to make her Mom uncomfortable. The sideways glance she gives right before saying, "Daddy, let's kiss Mommy too much!" That is followed by the two of us inundating my wife with a barrage of mouths on her face that finally lets her decide that, Yes, there is such a thing as too much love.
For me, the ultimate is the look she gives as she does a long pause to show she has comic timing that would make Chris Rock proud. With two children in the house, there is a moment when my wife has just had enough noise and wackiness....and then I come home and it all cranks up again. As I rev Parker and my son Miles up, there is always that moment when their mother shuts it down with, "Okay, okay, can we just have some quiet?"
Since most of my comedy involves some form of mockery, I have developed this bit with Parker where I then ask, "Parker, what is there too much of in this house?"
Those eyes then look left...and then right...and then widen as she says, "Joy. Daddy, is there too much joy?"
"Yes, Parker. Yes, there is too much joy in this house."
While the cliche' is that "The eyes are the window to the soul," in our house it is Parker's eyes that are the window to my soul. Looking into them helped me through tough times of loss in life and in my career. Seeing the happiness that those eyes show when she sees that we have surprised her with a trip to Disney on Ice make everything in life better.
Even having to tell her not to look at us while she is supposed to be concentrating on the soccer game she is playing brings first a look of embarrassment and then the competitive glare that says, "I must get to that goal."
Those eyes are just a part of what makes her a force that has made me notice that every experience has something wonderful in it. I will always be grateful to see things through those eyes and I can not wait to see for myself the wonder that will always be Parker Pearson.