"She's a beautiful baby!" I don't go out often with Eleni, but when I do I often hear that phrase. There's never been a point when a person couldn't tell just by looking when she's awake that there is something wrong with my baby. They look a little longer, pause, wonder and say the only nice thing they can say, "She's a beautiful baby."
It's her eyes that give her away.
She has beautiful blue eyes. Miracle eyes. Eyes I always wished upon a star for my child, more than half knowing it could not be. I have brown eyes. Well, brownish-green now that I'm grown up. We all had dark brown eyes as kids, as does my dad, all my nephews, nieces and my first two children too. When I married Brandon they showed a slideshow of our growing up and I reveled at his shining blond hair and clear blue eyes. My grandmother's eyes were blue. There was a chance, after all.
When Eleni came into the world so tragically, she did not show us her eyes. We didn't know their color until she opened them a week later. And there they were, a dark steel blue, like Aria's when she was born. Like Daddy's.
Everyone assumed they would turn, as Aria's did, around 4 or 5 months, but I wondered. I wondered because she had a sprinkling of blond hairs. I wondered because it would be just so wrong for God to give me a blue eyed baby... like this.
I had been wishing for the wrong miracle, but now I know. I know what a mother should wish for.
I have never been one of those women who just wishes for a healthy baby. Oh, no. I wanted a GIRL. And quietly, absurdly, I wanted a girl with blue eyes. I kept wanting that during months of trying to conceive, as we questioned whether surgery had made conception even possible, even after miscarriages - still wanting a girl.
After Eleni was born, in those early days and weeks going home every night without our baby, my husband and I would let the words and the tears come after Aria and Liam went to bed. I would sob, "I don't get to have a baby. She's not what I wanted." And then from the depths of my soul, "She's exactly what I wanted... but horribly, horribly injured. And it's not her fault. She's still the baby I wanted."
Eleni is six months old. Her eyes haven't changed one bit. If anything the centers are just a fraction clearer and paler than before. I would give back anything, anything to make her whole again. I would trade blue eyes in an instant. But that's not the way it works. There is no bargaining.
Today, in her blue eyes, I still see a pang of sorrow. Hers and mine. I also see the beauty that others see. And the injury too, her sightless disorientation. It's all there.
She's a beautiful baby. Yes, she is.