The Art of Seeing

by Stefani on 23-September-2007

Sometimes, my children amaze me with their capacity for noticing the world around them, picking up on nuances that an adult might walk right past. I so appreciate their insistance that I stop and look with them.

Not too long ago, my Ryder said, “Mama, come quick! Come and see my airplane!”

I didn’t get it at first.


Do you see it?

I was so taken aback that my little two year old guy had not only figured out the right way to stand, to recreate his find for me, but that he’d seen this shape, paused, and assigned it meaning.

He also told me this afternoon, while I was trying to practice adjusting the ISO and white balance on my camera, that “Shadow Mama takes pictures too.”


Later, he thought our shadows would like to hold hands. And so they did.


When I saw our shadows together, it became clear to me. He’s my seeing eye child, leading me through lands of enchantment that I can only barely make out on my own.

Show me the way, little one.

cloth.paper.string September 23, 2007 at 9:10 pm

gorgeous photos; lovely words. thank you, thank you for sharing!

Sarah Jackson September 23, 2007 at 9:38 pm

What an observant little guy he is! We do a lot of shadow play too, when we go for walks. Our shadows chase each other. Good for you, mama, for always taking the time to follow his lead.

Ellie September 24, 2007 at 2:26 am

Yes, every day the things that Ari notices or remembers astound and amaze me. So wonderful if we only take the time to look with them. Having children is such a wonderful slowing and observing time. The little and simple things are so big and beautiful when viewed through a child’s eye. Thank you for showing us.

Kelly September 24, 2007 at 4:53 am

How absolutely beautiful! Being a mother myself, I know exactly, what you are saying! You have shared it absolutely, perfectly! Thank you, for the gentle reminder!

Tracy September 24, 2007 at 5:22 am

What a visual person he is! I love to hear that!

mollyb September 24, 2007 at 5:36 am

I really love the picture of the shadow mama. The ripple of the wood almost gives the effect of the carved wooden statues you see in a lot of coastal towns (of razor clams and mermaids)

Sarah September 24, 2007 at 5:37 am

Took me a minute on the airplane too.

I love playing with our shadows with Jack. He doesn’t really get what they are yet, but he’s close.

shula September 24, 2007 at 6:24 am


Anne September 24, 2007 at 6:58 am

I like the shadow pictures. Your soup recipe was a big hit-thank you for posting it.

Molly September 24, 2007 at 8:57 am

Makes me want to just cuddle that little boy of yours! Or as Aidan said yesterday while I was piggybacking him on a hike, “Hold me tight and never let go”. His airplane recognition and recreation reminds me of Bloom’s Taxonomy (can you guess what I’m studying these days?).

Grace September 24, 2007 at 9:56 am

oh, stefani, this is an exquisite post. i felt myself catching my breath at the end. oh, thank you for sharing this.

chikaustin September 24, 2007 at 11:26 am

beautiful, simply beautiful stefani!

Eren September 24, 2007 at 11:39 am

So very sweet Stefani….man, I wish we were closer. Yet another day I say that.

beki September 24, 2007 at 11:57 am

You have such a way with expressing your thoughts, you inspire me.
It really is amazing what little ones pick up on. Thanks for reminding me (yet again) to slow down and listen.

Marjorie September 24, 2007 at 1:58 pm

It’s fantastic to see the world through a child’s eyes. Thanks for the reminder.

erin September 24, 2007 at 2:19 pm

it’s so great that you take the time to really listen.

tania September 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm

love shadow mama – your kids are blessed to have such a connected mom

tania September 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm

love shadow mama – your kids are blessed to have such a connected mom

Chris September 24, 2007 at 5:20 pm

“Seeing eye child” is a brilliant phrase- you said it perfectly! A few years ago I was worried my boys might have lost that special eye, so when I saw a face in an old tree stump and asked if they saw it too, they said “Yah!” and looked at me like I was crazy for pointing out the obvious. I was happy they hadn’t lost it.

EvaB September 24, 2007 at 5:32 pm

May we all never lose the ability to see through their eyes.

Dallas September 24, 2007 at 9:32 pm

A great reminder to stop and really look around us. That last photo is very sweet.

Angela September 25, 2007 at 6:27 am

Beautiful pictures, and an insightful post.

leslie September 25, 2007 at 9:36 am

shadow mama, my new favorite phrase. 🙂

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