Carson, my Carson. You are incredible.
One of the greatest things about being a mother is being able to watch the miraculous development of people. Those eyes sparkling in the photograph above? I got to watch those eyes blink in the blinding light of the hospital room just seconds after he was born. In the months that followed, I stared into those wide open eyes through mornings, afternoons, evenings, and many midnight hours. I watched them learn to bring my smile into focus, and to follow my movements from across the room.
In the years that followed, those eyes have helped him make sense of the world by feeding his brain countless images and messages that have caused him to learn and grow. They fill with tears when he's sad, they gloss over when he's sick, they sparkle when he's excited, and all along the way, they have had the power to stop my breath when the light falls on them just so.
But the interesting thing about those eyes is that now they tell me so much more about who he is than they ever have before. Those eyes that stare at me from this eight year old face pull a deep and uncomplicated love from my heart, the type of love that just may not be possible without truly knowing someone. How could I have known -- staring at those eyes from his tiny, beautiful, newborn face -- how could I have known that those eyes would be even more beautiful when the depth of his soft personality was behind them?
I love this boy.
Nana - helping Carson get the hem of his new suit just right
He turned eight this summer and, as is customary in the Mormon church, entered the waters of baptism. Brian and I have spent his whole life teaching him the truths of the gospel that we hold most dear. We have taught him about Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. About the Holy Ghost and about the powers of repentance. We have taught him about temples and heaven, about the atonement and the Book of Mormon, about prophets and obedience. And, most importantly, why all of those things are important.
He has listened throughout the years (with varying levels of interest, of course), and has started to form a testimony for himself. And when he turned eight, he was delighted to be able to show his budding testimony and his love for the Savior by being baptized.
As a mother, this feels like the first big step towards independence for him. Up until this point, any and all of his mistakes have been wrapped up in the atoning sacrifice of the Savior - but now he is old enough to start shouldering an important piece of that heavy burden of Responsibility. He is ready to take charge of his own actions and become accountable for his choices. Now, repentance becomes more important. Self control becomes more important. And he is ready.
Of course, he doesn't have to do it alone. He has been blessed with support, layered on support, layered on support.
He has been placed on a new path, the very path that will lead him back to his Heavenly Father, and has been instructed to start walking. Brian and I will walk with him as long as he lets us, one on either side, acting as bumpers as he learns how to navigate this new found independence. And, knowing my Carson, he will keep us laughing and loving all along the way.
Today, his eyes never have trouble focusing on my smile.
Now they are masters at following movement,
and at decoding almost all of the images around him.
So we turn our attention to his spiritual eyes. We teach those eyes how to focus on Christ. How to see clearly through the mess of confusing and often conflicting input regarding morals and ideas, by decoding and sifting out what. is. important.