Even as a kid I loved words. I did not always understand what they meant, and maybe repeated a few I should not have, but new words, especially those in song lyrics, always stuck with me.
There’s a book that was later recorded in song and later played on Nick Jr. called “No mirrors in my nana’s house.” It tells the story of a young girl who says she never knew about the world’s imperfections because her nana only showed her the perfections of the world.
The opening lyric to the song is, “There were no mirrors in my nana’s house, just the reflection in her eyes.”
Mirrors are designed to show us reflections, and we often use them to look for imperfections. I look in the mirror at least 10 times before I leave the house to make sure my makeup is right, my hair is not frizzy and my clothes have a minimal amount of dog hair on them.
When we look into people’s eyes, we’re often looking for an answer, a reflection or even just understanding. We want the truth and they say the eyes are the window to the soul, where the truth is.
This song has always stuck with me not just because it’s catchy but because of the trust and understanding she felt through her gaze. Any truth she needed came from her grandmother because all she had to do was look into her eyes and know the most important truths were there.
Sometimes I think we get too caught up in looking into the mirrors for imperfections. It’s an obsession of sorts, looking to see what’s wrong so we can fix it instead of looking at what’s good and marveling in it.
There is something so simple about focusing on the negative but for some reason reveling in the positive is scary and hard. It’s like we’re too afraid to celebrate it because it might go out like a candle on a birthday cake if we provide too much attention.
The world does a great job of creating a healthy mix of both perfect and imperfect things, but I think it’s our job to reflect on those good, positive things and be that example of light for everyone. It is so much simpler to dwell on imperfections but it makes us so much happier when we stop.
Another favorite lyric of mine is, “The world outside was a magical place, I only knew love, I never knew hate.”
My ‘nana’, whom I call Gram, is my No. 1 gal. We talk every Wednesday about how she did in her bridge club, what article I’m working on and usually she ribs me about how I need to learn to make caramels even though I think that sounds like a wonderful thing for her to do for me.
As a kid, I always thought her giant four-bedroom farmhouse on five acres with multiple buildings to explore was such a magical place. Even now, I still think it is. Anytime I talk with my Gram or anytime I got to explore, I always felt the love and never knew hate, or fear. There was a level of trust that I felt, even as a kid, that no matter what happened I was going to be just fine because of the reflection of love in her eyes.
I can’t tell you there aren’t mirrors in her house, but I can tell you that the most important thing to me is the reflection of who she is. Like everyone, my Gram has a story of love and heartache but she never let it bring her down, or anyone else for that matter.
Learning by example is a big thing for kids and adults too. I learned to treat others with love and respect because of how my Gram taught it to me. Every day this world gets a little scarier and our kids are a little less safe in the world but we can create a sense of comfort for them by being that reflection of positive, perfect things.
The song closes with one last affirmation: “The beauty that I saw in everything was in her eyes.”
As the new year comes around, I think we have an opportunity to be that reflection for people. There are always going to be imperfections and hate and things to shield ourselves and others from. But there also will be beautiful, fun things to celebrate that we cannot forget about. I mean we had an entire Olympics 10 months ago and we all forgot about it because we chose to look into the mirror and see what was not going right in the world.
The beauty in everything can be found so simply and we have a unique opportunity to show that to other people. New years are a time for new goals, regimes and chances. There were no mirrors in my nana’s house, just the reflection in her eyes.