You Can Do It, Brennan
For the Next Generation

With Opened Eyes

Last Tuesday morning started out like every other morning: we took pictures of ourselves.





Yep, before the sun gave off radiant light for the day, the flash from our camera lit up the room. But I’m kidding about it being an every morning event in our household.

Actually, Tuesday morning was special because the day before, Brennan started saying “MollEEeeee” for the first time, and it was his first gleeful word of the day as Matt carried him down the stairs. He’s been parrot-like and enthralled with the new discovery.  Molly’s cone was removed the Friday prior. Surprised by how quickly Molly’s eye healed from the procedure done four days earlier and the unexplained missing indications of healing (i.e. veins going to her cornea), the vet and his assistant were both at a loss for words other than to say, “Thank God.” Indeed. He loves His creatures. Brennan has since been all over his puppy like white on rice with sweet affection. And also a want-to-wrestle kind of affection. So Tuesday morning when he made his way to his puppy and plopped down next to her stroking her fur, the camera naturally came out. And Matt and I joined in the fun.

That evening we went to a nearby pumpkin patch because there’s been a flurry of talk about pumpkin patches; I wanted to squeeze in time to go to one. Because Fall isn’t Fall without picking out pumpkins, right? And now, Fall isn’t Fall without a caramel apple spice from Starbucks! Tasting my first one the other day, I felt like Fall was complete. But why isn’t it on the menu?  I’d heard about it through Twitter, and being a Starbucks fledgling, I was confused as to why I didn’t see it on the normal menu. Anyhow, pumpkins and caramel apple spices are the Fall rage.

We met Matt after work at the pumpkin patch. Whenever I try to make a big deal about getting the ‘perfect’ family photos, photos where everyone is smiling and pleased with the way they look, things are bound to go awry. When I’m too focused on an expected product looking through a lens of a camera, I miss what I should see through the lens of my own eye. Either Brennan runs around like a mad man; he’s not interested in smiling; or I’m disgusted with pictures of myself. Therefore, our family experience results in any number of the following (usually all three): me shouting at Brennan across the pumpkin patch in a futile attempt to get him to come back over to the haystack for one more photo (after taking nearly a dozen already); making obnoxious faces to crack a smile on Brennan’s face only to start spiraling in frustration; and/or plunging into self loathing about my body.

If I’d been clear minded about the situation, I’d have seen the pit I was falling into was robbing me of a memorable moment. But I didn’t. I complained about each picture, asking Matt to delete and retake. Delete and retake. I fussed about Matt wearing the camera bag, the black strap out of place. I tried to pose ‘just so’. I kept asking myself, “Why doesn’t Brennan know how to smile yet when asked?” I brimmed with ungratefulness. Too much pressure. Too much expectation to get a “Christmas-card” worthy picture.

Blinded at the time, my eyes were closed to a boy’s sense of exploration and adventure…



a desire to help…



a boy’s innate desire to conquer…



the humor of how carrying too heavy a pumpkin can make you cry…



simple joy in finding a pumpkin ‘just right’…



a husband and father trying to soak in the moment…



a woman God made fearfully and wonderfully…



a moment to intertwine the hearts of a family of three.



For each picture, I know what I was thinking, shouting, complaining about, the scene I was manipulating. I missed out. I robbed Matt and Brennan, too.  How do we let our control, perfectionism, insecurities, and bad attitudes rob us of irreplaceable moments that on the surface may not be what we desire or expect, but when you look perceptively they are laden with grace, vibrant life, insight? The moments of life are too fleeting to have closed, narrow eyes.

The three plump, orange pumpkins we purchased of varying sizes, one the boy attempts to conquer, one too heavy it induces tears, and one ‘just right’, now take up residence by our front door. Even though I fail time and time again by letting my own messed up stuff rob me of grace-filled moments, the image of those pumpkins reminds me there is a way around that pit: to live life with grateful, opened eyes.


Simply trusting,



Ooooh, I love this. I love that you took home each pumpkin as a reminder of what you learned. That's really, really cool.

And you're beautiful when you just wake up.

Thanks for opening my eyes.

I think everyone needs to come by your blog and read this story today!!! What a lesson we could all learn from it! Love you friend and I love the pictures! :)

What a really great post. It's something I don't think about and now I will. Thank you!

You ARE beautiful when you wake up in the morning! Where do you get those warm footed pajamas for kids? Guy needs some.

That was an eye-opening post with wonderful pictures and you look gorgeous! AND, I am going to see you this Friday!!! :)

That photo of Brennan crying is KILLING me! He's so adorable, friend.
THis hit home. Man, I get so caught up in everything having to be this way I lose the beauty in the way its going down. My fault! :(
Thanks for the reminder!
ps: It ISN'T fall without pumpkins. Going to collect and carve mine tonight!

Meggie: Outstandingly written. Absolutely...I always enjoy what you write, but I love how you write it. Mrs. Peterson....and other teachers...I hope you are reading! Excellent teachers...fabulous student...great writer! Love, Daddy

P.S. And of course the photographer(s) and the subject matter....are the best, too! Love, Jack/Daddy/Pops

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