Do Your Eyes Light Up When You See Your Child?

Whenever I see or call my mom, she always acts ecstatic. Even though I’m usually regaling her with something super boring (“I’m ordering Mexican for dinner tonight,” “I’m kind of sleepy today,” “Did you see that it snowed?”), she’s always thrilled to hear every detail. And although I’m 33 years old, it feels reassuring to have someone who is so reliably happy that I exist.

Learning from my mother, now that I have a child of my own, I try to never hide how happy I am to see Toby. Even when I’m buried in emails or writing a post, I always look up with a huge grin and eyes twinkling when Toby walks in the door. Even when I’m sick, busy, tired or stressed, I want him to always know, 100%, that I’m glad he’s there.

Author Toni Morrison shared a similar sentiment on Oprah years ago: “When my children used to walk in the room…I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face.” Does your face light up when your child comes into the room? she asked. Because they notice.

Toby, for one, has definitely noticed. He’ll sometimes even come through the door and announce, “Ta da!!!” It makes my heart sing that he believes he’s worthy of such fanfare.

What about you? Have you ever thought about this? Maybe every mother does! It’s one of those little things that feels really important.

P.S. The first time my eyes lit up.

(I wrote a shortened version of this post for SFGirlbyBay; thanks, Victoria)

  1. just like your mother, I still love the sound and the sight of my two adult children. It NEVER gets old and for that I am thankful and blessed.

  2. Thanks for reminding me how important this is. I love my child more than anything in the world and she fills my heart with such joy. I need to remember to let her know this even when I’m overwhelmed with emails, bills, working, etc. Because when it comes down to it, I would drop everything in a heartbeat just to have a hug from her.

  3. Thanks for reminding me how important this is. I love my child more than anything in the world and she fills my heart with such joy. I need to remember to let her know this even when I’m overwhelmed with emails, bills, working, etc. Because when it comes down to it, I would drop everything in a heartbeat just to have a hug from her.

  4. I’m behind on my blogs, but wanted to comment that the Toni Morrison piece on Oprah is in the back of my mind all the time. Although right now it’s hard not to smile when I look at my 4-month old daughter, it’s an important point that we need to be reminded of as they get older. Thanks for posting!

  5. I work at a design firm and there is a theory when designing children’s hospital rooms to always put artwork above the bed that will elicit a smile or positive reaction from adults. This way when a kiddo in the hospital bed sees the reaction of someone walking into their room it’s a good one!

  6. You are the sweetest person and a GREAT mom!!!!!

  7. I hope my comment does not get deleted for not being “nice,” but I think an outsiders’ perspective (since every comment posted sees it your way) might be healthy here. The type of expectation that you’re setting up — both for parents and their children — that children *must* get a special happy face *everytime* they enter into the room is unrealistically high. For example, your child need not get a special loving look if he or she keeps on entering into a room where you’re working, when he/she knows that this is your working time. They should get a reaction that is appropriate – i.e., a gentle reprimand. This is not to say that your actual love for them waxes or wanes with their behavior — I too believe that a mother’s love should be unconditional — but this outward display of beaming maternal love strikes me as both oddly contrived/performative and detrimental to the child’s development into an individual who respects boundaries and recognizes that even mothers must have them.

  8. I used to have the happiest face EVERY time my little one walked in the room though lately life has thrown a few curve balls and i have noticed that this has stopped. I am aware of it and have made a very conscious effort now to give her my happy face first, not my judgmental one. Children should never be at the forefront of our problems, they are little innocent pure beings and should be treated as such. We as mums, and dads, should thank our lucky stars that we are fortunate enough to have these little people in our lives x

  9. My sons are 28 and 25 years old. Yes, I light up inside and out when I see them, still.

  10. What a sweet post. My face truly does light up when I see my son. I look forward to seeing him all day. When I get to school to pick him up, as soon as he hears my voice or sees my big old smile, he claps his hands and drops whatever he is doing to run over to me for a big hug. (He’s 16 months old) I will pay close attention to this from now on! I want him to say “ta-da!” and then watch me smile. I do try to make him really giggle at least once a day.

    Every time I call my dad, I always ask if he is busy and he always says “I’m never too busy to talk to you” and it gives me a nice feeling which I carry with me…

  11. j says...

    You sound like the greatest mom. My mom does not have the same effect and I feel like maybe that has pushed a little on me, but luckily my bf is the same way. I used to want to hide smiling when I got home to see him, but I no longer feel that way. I will make it a point to be like that with my kids! I want them to feel relieved around me, not stressed!

  12. Joanna, what a great post! Congratulations on being such a thoughtful parent, Toby is really lucky! Like you, I also believe its the little things we do that build special people. What you said about lighting up made me think of this one time I was home and my grandfather arrived for lunch. I smiled happy and stood up to greet him and he imediately told me how special he felt seeing that I was genuinely excited he was there. So I guess it works both ways! Im glad you made me think of this today, thank you!xox Lais

  13. Thank you for reminding me… I think my eyes light up when my boys enter the room, but lately I’ve been so overwhelmed that maybe they don’t? Well. I’m certainly going to be more cognizant of it now!

  14. I love your anecdote about calling your mom. I know exactly what you mean. It made miss mine and wish I could still talk to her. Great post :)

  15. I read this somewhere before, I’m not sure where. I’ve made it a point to always show him how happy I am the minute he walks into the room. And I see the same joy mirrored in his eyes, and it is AMAZING.

    That “ta-da!” bit is the sweetest thing. He’s a lovely boy. :)

  16. Love the ‘ta da’ thing, very, very sweet. My two-year-old son would do something similar. He’d walk in to our bedroom in the morning (always in front of his older brother)throw his arms up in the air and shout “surprise!” He’s three now and doesn’t do it any more, and I miss it. The way I describe having children, is that it’s like Christmas morning, every morning when I see them first thing. That’s a very sentimental thing to say, but that’s just the why it is for me.

  17. I grew up with my grandparents constantly around. Till this day my Opa’s eyes light up whenever I’m around or whenever I face time with them. The same thing happens when he see’s my son. No matter my mood, I always make sure to greet Charlie with bright eyes and a big smile (even if he’s the one in the bad mood). I


  18. My eyes do light up whenever I see my daughter Zara. Whenever she wakes up in a good mood, I am always greeted by her smile and laughter. I always kiss her cheek or forehead before and after returning from being out running errands or such. It’s an amazing feeling! I can’t wait to watch her grow and be more expressive (hopefully good words). lol. :)

  19. Omg I just read your birth story! Made me tear up. My best friend gave birth during Hurricane Sandy, which I drove through in order to attend! Talk about intense. It is the most amazing, profound thing when the baby’s head pops out. You can’t NOT cry and laugh.

  20. I LOVE that Toni Morrison quote and always remembered it for any child I interact with but especially with my sweet boy who is 2 1/2. When I have been gone only briefly or he comes back from the playground with dad, he always yells, “Mama” or I yell his name, and we rush to hug. I always make sure to get down to eye level.
    It is amazing to see how children react to you when you “light up” at their presence. One commenter wrote that it should happen with any person in your life. I agree. I think I need to be a little more enthusiastic when I say hello to my husband!

  21. I saw the same comment via Oprah and it completely resonated with me, too. I was already halfway there, but now I make a conscious effort to welcome my kids with nothing less than whole-hearted joy and we both love every minute of it!

  22. R~ says...

    I miss my Mother so very much. She passed 4 years ago. In the weeks leading up to her passing… I snuggled with her in her bed one afternoon. She was in and out of sleep. We spoke a few words to each other here and there. I asked her what her favorite memory of me was… what was her favorite memory of us together? She thought about it and said, “Any time you walked in the room.” I’ve never forgotten it, nor will I ever. It was so simple, yet the older I get the more I understand just how deep and true her answer really was. She was always happy to see me. I miss her love so much that some days I can’t hold my tears back. There just isn’t any other love like my mothers. I was so blessed to have a mom like her… I know this and acknowledge it often.

    There’s a line in the book The Life of Pi. “To lose your Mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you.” It’s so very true.

    Thank you for touching my heart with your post today… as always, your blog is such a joy.


  23. MY sister is always calling me on this. I don’t have kids but I light up whenever I talk to my nephew. So I see my sister is calling and I answer “hey.” – not sad or depressed just a non-enthusiastic what’s up? But as soon as I hear the nephew’s voice I’m like a day at Disneyland. I can’t help it. He’s too delicious for words. I guess I should probably appreciate my sister just as much… :)

    Great post!

  24. Such a great post! My mom also always looks and sounds happy to see me, and I love it! I’m 26, and I still look for that from her. :) Toby will definitely remember those moments as he gets older.

  25. My 2 year old does the same “ta-da”! He melts my heart daily. It is so neat to read your blog about Toby with him being the same age as my son. He seems like such a doll just like his mama!

  26. “Ta-da”, that’s adorable! I haven’t been apart from my 5 month old too many times yet, but when he wakes up from his nap I’m always super happy to see him, to which he flaps his arms and legs. :)

  27. I feel like my parents have always been proud of me outwardly (to friends and coworkers), but somewhat critical inwardly. This is a very interesting thing to think about! I thought it was going to be “Do your eyes light up when you see babies?” .. which .. whenever I see any babies, I generally get excited! Guess it’s the maternal clock kicking in! :)

  28. This is so true. More often than not I see a critical face on my mother, and a genuinely happy to see me face on my father. It makes an impact.

  29. That is really sweet. I’ve never thought about the effects of a parent’s lit up face on a child’s happiness. I’m not a parent myself but I know that whenever I see my parents, they get this sweet look on their face as though I’m still a baby (despite the fact that I’m in my late 20s!).

    Have you ever considered writing a book about raising children? I make mental notes of all the things about raising Toby that you write about that I want to remember when my husband and I start a family. Unfortunately I know I’ll forget almost everything I’ve read when it actually happens. But your stories, experiences, and advice are so useful and endearing, without sounding overly instructional or dogmatic which I think would make for a lovely read for a new mom.

    Anyways, just a thought. Thanks, once again, for sharing your insights.

  30. Yes, I do this! I make a point to be genuinely and ecstatically happy every time my 21-month-old daughter walks into the room. It was something I consciously decided to do when I realized how aware and in tune she was to my moods and reactions to things. It makes her smile ear-to-ear and sometimes squeal in delight and that makes me even happier and more excited to see her :)

  31. My partner’s parents still joke about how he, as a child, would walk into the room and announce “here I am!” to whoever was there. We’re kind of expecting the same thing from our loudly babbling baby once he learns to talk! :)

  32. “Since” not incentive.

  33. My heart sings whenever I see or talk to them – like this weekend, it was such a joy walking in from work and my 21 year old rushing towards me with a big smile and her arms out – it made me cry as I hadn’t seen her incentive she left for college!

  34. This is the way it should be with parents and child/children. But the truth is, not every parent IS happy to see their child and/or interested, regardless of age or circumstance.

    It makes me sad to read this because this is not something I had with my mother because the reality was she did not want a child and was anything but maternal. I missed that in life and it has colored every other relationship. You NEVER get over it and children ALWAYS know when you are happy to see them. Or not happy to see them.

    I took what Toni Morrison said and applied it to every personal relationship I have (Friends, partner, family members). The most important thing is to physically convey by voice and facial expression how happy I am to see them. I keep in mind, especially as I age, that you never ever know when it will be the last time you see someone.

    I also note when I am NOT automatically smiling or showing my happiness/joy at seeing someone, as it signals something is wrong in a relationship at some level, conscious or not.

    And I also watch how people greet me. Are THEY happy to see me?

    It’s important to do this with one’s spouse/partner/significant other. It is so easy to get stuck in patterns and sometimes not even acknowledge one another (I watch other couples and am appalled at the lack of response and interaction. That’s not comfort. It’s indifference.) as we hurl ourselves thru the day.

    We’re all busy, but it’s important to be mindful, aware and PRESENT for those we love. And of course, to extend this to the world as a whole in terms of respect and basic human kindness.

  35. I’m 26 and I just moved home for the first time since I left for school at age 18. My mom is ALWAYS happy to see me when I walk through the door, and when she isn’t (due to stress or whatever), I definitely notice, and it does affect my mood. But I can definitely relate to the phone calls! The best part of calling my mom is that I can talk for hours about my life, and she LIKES it, haha. Also, when I lived in France, we would Skype and end up just sitting on Skype like we were in the same room, with occasional asides, but going about our computer chores, etc. Moms are great.

  36. This is something that I’d like to *think* I’d do automatically but I bet it does take a little reminder now and then. I am pregnant with my first so I’ll file this away for later. In the meantime, I think this is something my husband would appreciate too – he deserves it.

  37. My darling just turned one and I am beyond blessed to be able to work at home and have a nanny come in for 4 hours a day so I can spend the rest of the time being a happy happy mom. As they pass in and out of the room while I am at my desk – or when I enter her room when she wakes up – I have fallen into the routine of saying “it’s you! my love!” and she just waves her hands excitedly as if to exclaim “yes! it is! me!”

    The few times I have been too engrossed in my work to do this tiny acknowledgement of her and the joy she brings me, I have felt a loss when she left the room so now I make a conscious effort to always say it – and as it becomes more of a habit, ironically it becomes more and more authentic (I thought it might become trite or rote.) I can’t wait for her first verbal response – I hope it’s “Ta da!” or maybe “Damn straight, it’s me!” (I’m raising a bad ass…)

    @JulieBean – Please forgive me for stealing your phrase “pinned to my heart”… so much sweeter than “bookmarked in my brain”… hehe. And brava/thank you for recognizing a harsh pattern and becoming determined to break it – everyone deserves to be greeted with joy! I’ll smile with glee if I ever see you! Promise!

  38. My mom is the same way on the phone. It doesn’t matter what I’m telling her, I, too, often feel like yelling tada when I enter a room because of the sense of importance she has given me. It’s almost an issue in my relationships with others – that they’re not AS impressed by my retelling of a book I read or a thing I did at work. Ahh…

  39. I never really thought about it, but yes I totally light up when I see my little girl. Especially when I walk in the door after work or after a run. It’s quite possibly my favorite thing in the world, to walk in and see her smiling and going “Ah! Ah!” (she’s 9 months old) and then crawling over to my feet in a hurry. And my parents are obviously pumped to see me whenever they pick me up at the airport for a visit. My dad still smells my hair when he sees me at baggage claim and goes “Yeah, it’s you.”

  40. D says...

    Don’t have kids. And I don’t remember my parents ever doing this until I was 27.

  41. this is SO good. taken it to heart. xo

  42. My mom reacts the same way to me. I tell everyone she’s my biggest (sometimes only) fan. I don’t have children, but always get super excited to see my little brother who is 20 years younger than I and practically mine! I hope he (and any children I amy one day have) always know how very, very special they are!!

  43. I don’t have a child but I do have a puppy that makes me smile everytime I see him. So I can only imagine how I will be once I hvae a child.

  44. My boys used to go “ta da” – they are now 34 and 37, so that’s been over long ago. However…my grandchildren go “ta da” when they come in the room – so it carries on!

  45. Very true post.
    I was just thinking how amazing it is to be so happy to wake up at six in the morning to pick up my little guy for a morning cuddle before the gym. But I have to add that after becoming a mother, I also want to be this way toward my mother. I want her to feel appreciated and loved for all she’s done. It’s such an important job we have as mums’.

  46. Sweet post and certainly true. I can feel my mum smiling when I call her on the phone. And I am always full of love and smiles when I see my sweet baby girl crawl (or scoot) into the room.

  47. I don’t think I could keep myself from beaming–it’s my natural response to Baguette’s joy when she sees me!

  48. My aunt Joanne is my surrogate mother, and I love that every time I call she answers, “Lydia!!” like she’s so excited. It’s pretty powerful.

  49. I have that advice pinned in my heart for when I have kids, and I practice with friends and family members now. Doesn’t it feel good when someone greets you with a smile and appears genuinely happy to be in your company? As the child of a mother who was (and remains) nothing but critical and negative in our interactions (from her facial expressions to her words), I am determined not to impart that on others.

  50. i (heart) toni morrison down to my tippy toes.

    such great advice. i definitely light up whenever i see my girl, and she bounces with glee whenever she sees me.

    as some people here said, good advice for spouses too. we made a rule in our house right after we got a puppy, “people first.” when either one of us would get home at night, we’d find ourselves immediately lavishing all of our affection on the dog and very little to none on the person we’d chosen to spend our lives with! so now, we hug and kiss and snuggle the humans first, then the pooch.

  51. Thank you so much for posting this… it’s really good advice. I absolutely adore my son, but I’m pretty sure that sometimes I get focused on the checking rather than the glowing. And you’re right, the glowing is far more important. Something that will be a complete joy to work on!

  52. Oh my gosh, Toby’s little “ta da” just made my heart melt! You have to capture that on video for the future.

  53. our birthing class teacher told us she always greets her children with a smile… best bit of advice we took away from that class.

  54. yes. my eyes light up when i see my doughters, Giulia and Viola. They make me smile every day. no raining days when i spend my time with my children.
    thank u 4 your post
    maggie from italy

  55. I don’t have children, but I try to do this everytime a loved one (especially my fiance) enters the room :)

  56. beautiful sentiment. the kind you need to take the time to remind yourself of everyday x

  57. LOVE this post! My PawPaw and MawMaw called it their “love light.” I think it’s important to have that “love light” for everyone you care about.

  58. Such a sweet sentiment, Joanna. I get frustrated when I don’t get an acknowledgement, but I sometimes am the one forgetting to look up and say hi. Sometimes I make a bigger fuss for my dog than for my boyfriend. Hahaha.

  59. I’m pregnant with my first and this is such a great piece of advice. I really hope that I am able to show this babe how happy I am she’s here :-)

  60. Oh my gosh, Toby’s “tada!” is the cutest!

    I’m not a mother, but I can see this in my own mom, especially now that I’m married and living in another city. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming, but I’d way rather have an overly enthusiastic mom than someone who doesn’t react.

  61. Oh, these posts are making me want to be a Mama so much… Not sure when I got old enough for that to happen. I’m scared now. xx

  62. Thank you so much for this post today, I really need it!!! I have two very busy and challenging boys…age 5 and 2. I love them more than anything, but I sometimes am very critical. This is the perfect post for me to learn from. I don’t ever want them to think that they aren’t worth the time, energy…even if that’s how I am feeling. Thank you so much for sharing. I just lve your blog!!!!

  63. my mum and i have the opposite kind of relationship, where she only gets excited when i call and tell her something she wants to hear (which is never really what i have to say, generally)…i’ve always wanted to have a mum i could be friends with, or who would just love me unconditionally + accept me for who i am, but i guess that’s the luck of the draw, huh? :)

    as for the eyes lighting up, i’m saving that for my new baby nephew, who i love more than i thought was humanly possible…i want him to know that i’d do anything for him, and that he’s the most special person in my life right now, so i get what you mean! sadly he lives on the east coast of canada, so i don’t get to see him that often…but i’ll be saving my smiles + kisses up for him! haha.

  64. Aww my heart melts at Toby saying “Ta Da!” when he enters the room. So sweet. My first baby is due in March and this is great to keep in mind as a new mommy :)

  65. I read this years ago and pledged that my eyes would always light up when I saw my child. It has not been a problem, they naturally do- I think I’ll have to work on it more when he’s a teenager, but for now, it’s hard to not to be happy every time I see him. That, and he claps every time he see’s me and it’s been longer than 20 minutes, who doesn’t like applause?

  66. yes!! my mom is and always has been like your mom with us and I have tried to do the same with my son. like Toby, sometimes our son says “ta da” when he walks in the door but a lot of times he says the Korean version, which is “ja jahn”!

    I never made the generational connection though. I love the Toni Morrison comment! :)

  67. Good lesson, and not just for children. One’s spouse/significant other needs this kind of delighted acknowledgement, too, and is just as deserving of your time and your smiles. I don’t have kids but I have observed over the years that mothers get very immersed in their children, often forgetting to show their love to their partners as openly as they do with their kids. Date night is fine, but the little loves given all day long are the ones that really count.

  68. I’m sure my eyes will light up someday, if the way my mom reacts to me is any indication as to how I’ll be as a mother. :-) Such a sweet post!

  69. Beautiful post! My Mom died almost a year ago, and I have to say that this is what I miss the most. I am lucky to be a Mom now, and seeing the expression on my children’s faces when they see me light up is one of the greatest moments – so full of authentic love and joy. Motherhood, though tirelessly difficult at times, is so beautiful! I love your Motherhood Mondays :)

  70. my eyes light up ever time i see my baby girl but then she is just a week old and i still can’t believe she is ours :)

  71. Oh my goodness, yes. I could be in the worst mood ever, but when I see my little girl all else goes away and it’s nothing but a GIANT smile on my face! I am just always so thrilled to see her! : )

  72. I love my babies, but I know that I do not always display my happy to see you face. thank you for the reminder that they really are the MOST important thing in my world. :)

  73. I adore my children, who are now adults… how does that happen. My heart still skips when I see them. It breaks just a bit when they leave. Do my eyes light up? They do.
    Our lives have become complicated, as their dad, my dear husband died last year. It is now the three of us. We are finding our way. Their lives need to be their own. That being said, they are my heart.

  74. This is so sweet. I have one friend who feels the way you do. I find that the rest of my friends just sort of deal with their kids. It’s an inconvenience.

  75. This is a great reminder and “tip” for all of us trying to be the best mothers we can be for our children!

  76. I love this post! Years ago, when I heard that story from Toni Morrison it really stuck with me. It was not something I had felt growing up and hoped to change one day with my own children. Now that I have a sweet 2 year old boy it’s something I have tried to practice since the day he was born. I will say that he makes it easy, it’s not hard to light up when your little one is the light of your life!

  77. Ta da! I love that. I think I probably light up like a Christmas tree every time I see my little girl (she’s two, like Toby). Can’t help myself. Except for when she walks into the bedroom at six in the morning… But she found a way to make me smile even then, by knocking on our bedroom door, saying ‘toc toc toc, qui est la?'(knock knock, who’s there?).

  78. Hi Joanna, Thank you for writing this post. It actually brought a tear to my eye. You see, whenever I call my mom she sounds almost…surprised! (And I call her quite often, at least 3-4 times a week) She’s always all “Oh hi (myname)!!!” And sometimes I get a little annoyed like, why is she so surprised that I’m calling her. (She can SOMETIMES be one to guilt trip, so I’m sometimes on guard for that.) But after reading this, I realize that it’s not surprise, it’s genuine enthusiasm, like I’m lighting up her day just bc she hears my voice. It obviously makes her so very happy. I knew this abstractly, but your view on this as a daughter and mother really crystalized it for me. And I can start just smiling instead of secretly wincing when I get that reaction. So THANK YOU!!! Also, I am a soon-to-be mom so I will be sure to keep this in mind once my little one is here. Can’t wait for early June!!!

  79. I can’t remember seeing my mom’s eyes ever light up for me or have her really excited to see or talk to me (just my brother), but I have with my dad. I need to keep this in my for when I have children – it seems to have a pretty remarkable effect.

  80. I saw the post similar to this on sfgirlbybay and it spoke to me very strongly. I want to give this love as a mother, so badly. Thank you for sharing this. xoxoxo.

  81. so interesting that you include a toni morrison quote here–she is one of my favorite authors and its cool to see her commenting on motherhood. i can say being a product of parents on the opposite side of the spectrum, its so incredibly great to see you and all the mothers commenting that take such intentional care to express excitement for their child’s very existence. those moments indeed are so critical, and its so wonderful that you think of even those little things for toby :)

  82. I’m 7 months pregnant, and given the way my eyes light up every time I see my dog (seriously, he’s the greatest!), I can’t imagine the same thing not happening when I see my human baby. ;-)

  83. Yes! I definitely think about this. My son is about Toby’s age… and my newborn, well I don’t know how much she notices yet at 5 weeks. But sometimes when I’m tired / sick I have to think extra hard about patience and lighting up!


  84. My little girl lights up my life, not just my eyes :) She’s amazing!

  85. This is a great reminder, because now that my kids are 8 and 10, it is harder. They are fighting, or my son’s pants are on crooked, or they just left a mess in the living room or forgot to flush the toilet. Sometimes I forget to look at them with a happy face rather than a critical one.

  86. I was so going to mention Toni Morrison. I wasn’t a mother when I heard her talk, but since I’ve become one, I try my hardest to always smile when my kids initially see me. Sometimes I get home after working a 12-hour shift and the last thing I want to do is smile, but then I remember that they are my joy and that it’s for them I work so hard, and I just want them to know they brighten up my days.

  87. I think I do light up when I see my children. They bring me joy, how can I not light up at that ?

  88. I’m not a mother, but my mum makes me understand every moment how important I am for her. You are right, it’s so important, even when we grow up! I will remember this thing of eyes that light up, in case I even have children.
    Btw, you are so beautiful :)

  89. I think this is so true. I cannot help but light up when my little guy enters the room! It’s a good lesson to learn to make even simple things like the entrance into a room a big deal.

    Haute Child in the City

  90. I have a 21 month old little boy… i try to grin as big as i can too (without being creepy haha) anytime he walks into the room or looks at me. He grins his sweet grin back and that totally melts my heart everytime! I think kiddos definitely know when their presence is made special.

  91. Giving your kiddos “ta-da” moments when they are toddlers is critically important practice (for moms!) for when your kids hit the not-as-cute phase of the pre-teen/teen years. Because I find when your kids see/feel/hear you appreciate them … through homework stress, mood swings, dirty laundry and moldy lunchboxes (which all happened in my house this morning!) …. it’s a confidence builder that’s essential for those tumultuous middle school years. Thanks for this sweet post!

    • Amy Mac
      It’s a confidence builder for LIFE. A child who grows up feeling “less than”, which is how you feel when your parents do not express love and caring openly, grows up with a severe disadvantage. And if the parent is critical or disdainful or MIA, it’s even worse.

      Children know if they are loved and wanted by their parents. And when they don’t feel it from parents, they believe NO ONE will ever find them worthy of love and attention.

      Look very closely at the lives of adults who have made some bad choices in relationships and you will generally see adults who did not feel love in their homes at the most basic level.

  92. I don’t have kids, but I see that in my mom’s eyes, and it is stunning. Makes me feel so special!

  93. Joanna, I’ve been reading your blog for ages, but I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written. I hope I can someday shower my kids with love and excitement at their mere existence the way you do with Toby. Keep it up, mama!

  94. I’m pregnant right now (first time!), and I will make sure my baby will notice the twinkling in my eyes! I can’t wait…

  95. im not a mother but this is so beautiful. my best friend just had a baby girl and i see how much she loves her. beautiful post jo xx

  96. How adorable, TaDa! I love this. As children, we often don’t understand that those “critical looks” are looks of love as parents try to make sure we are taken care of. All we want is a look of love to empower us, I think at any stage of life really.

    • “a look of love to empower us” is a tremendous great concept <3

  97. Is this question even necessary? :-D
    Of course they do! And the most rewarding feeling is seeing my sons eyes brighten up too when he sees me ;-)

    • Sadly, the question is necessary. Some women aren’t loving even though they are mothers. :(

    • Sadly, the question is necessary. Some women aren’t loving even though they are mothers. :(

  98. I remember hearing this on Oprah and it was something that stuck with me, big time. I try to make sure my eyes light up whenever someone I care about walks through the door. Even if I’m in the middle of something, I want them to know I’m happy to see them and I love them. Now, the trick is getting my boyfriend to do the same. Some days I think I could walk through that door in a hot pink wig and go unnoticed ;) Perhaps I’ll borrow a page from Toby’s book and walk through with a resounding ‘ta da!’ and see what happens.

    • This line really stuck with me too when I saw her on Oprah, and I think I naturally do this with the ones I love. I too have tried to explain the concept to my boyfriend. He’s Parisian, and they aren’t the most effusive/smile-y people, and also aren’t known for making eye contact (sorry to generalize). He has a close Brazilian friend, and I think one of the reasons she exudes warmth is the way she genuinely lights up when she sees you. Although he’s drawn to that, he doesn’t necessarily emulate it… I’m hoping this comes with time.