Keep The Gaze

By Ashley Patek

Keep The Gaze

The exact moment I felt the weight of you in my arms, I couldn’t stop looking at the wonder you were. 

You looked at me too, trying to bring me into focus. 


For the months that followed, your gleaming eyes sparkled with the galaxies and stars to remind me that I was your whole world. 

I saw you too, knowing you were also mine. 

When your wobbly legs were learning to stand and step, 

Your gaze found me as if to ask, “Is this safe, mom?”

You found your pace and before I knew it you were taking my hand to lead me to the playground. 

You saw me as your best playmate.

Your giggliest giggle. 

Your snuggliest snuggly. 

Your constant, your haven, your home. 

And then, just like that, you were running off without me 

While I stood on the sidelines marveling at your growing independence. 

Your first two-wheeled bike ride. 

Your big game. 

Your new friends and new interests. 


Those eyes that used to fixate on mine were now fleeting. Looking back at me and also onward. 

Mine never left you. 

In a blink, my young boy had turned into a young man and our worlds felt a bit further apart. 

Your galaxies and stars expanded far beyond me. 

Those eyes that used to search for mine, barely caught me as you passed. 

But my gaze stayed steady. 

While I see the extraordinary human you have become, 

I also see the outline of the baby I once nuzzled.

The toddler I once chased. 

The boy I once built forts and slayed dragons with.

Feeling it all slip away and grow bigger at once, 

I tearfully called my own mom to ask …

How do you do it? 

How did you let go of me?

How am I supposed to let go of him when my job has been to hold on for so long?

She simply answered:


“It’s not the job of the child to keep the gaze. 

That’s the job of the parent. You’ve been doing it all along. 


Keep the gaze when they need you. 

When they resist you. 


When they are crumbling 

And when they are on top of the world. 

Parents are the keeper of moments past, 

And also have a duty to savor the moments of now before they pass. 

In doing so, 

You will never lose your children, 

But rather grow with them

In all chapters of life.”

•  •  •

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