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All of our spots make us differently beautiful
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Amy Choate-Nielsen's son has a spot between his eyes that matches a birthmark belonging to his mother. - photo by Amy Choate-Nielsen
My son has pale blue eyes.

His eyes are framed with a fringe of messy blond hair that hangs as straight as a curtain tangling in his tiny eyebrows. Sometimes, his eyes are squinting into some sort of funny face, or a generous smile, or a guise of mischief. Other times, they are like crescent moons turned upside down, red and full of water that falls in enormous tears down his cheeks.

The best part of my day is getting to see the world through his eyes.

He is ebullient and independent, imaginative and tricky. At different times today, I found him with my Mothers Day candy, a fistful of yogurt tubes, a bag of raisins, a banana, a mouthful of gum that he squirreled away from somewhere and Nutella smeared from his nose to both ears.

He gets lost in his own world. He is my only child who plays well by himself. He talks to his toys and sings little songs for entertainment. Last night, after being tucked into bed, he sneaked out of his room to put stickers on the wall in the hallway. Quietly and deliberately, like most things he does, he peeled and placed each one right after another, like a line of ants marching down the wall.

When he was less than a year old, a light brown circle started to form right between his eyes. It grew to the size of a pencil eraser and then stopped. His mole is so much a part of his face that I hardly see it when I look at him now, but I think most people would notice it right away.

Ive wondered if kids will one day tease him about his birthmark, and it makes me sad to think about. Ive wondered if his distinctive characteristic is something that will someday make him feel proud.

The other day, he came to talk to me as I sat down in a pair of shorts. They pulled above my knee, revealing a similar birthmark to the one on his face.

Whats that spot? he asked me.

Its a birthmark, I told him.

You have a spot from your birthday? he said, his eyes widening into saucers.

Yes, I said. Its just like yours.

I have a spot too? he asked me. He was incredulous.

Yes, I said, wondering if he was joking. Its on your face.

He couldnt believe that I was telling the truth, so I walked him over to the mirror in the bathroom and hoisted him up. He looked at his face in the mirror and a wide, toothy smile spread across his lips like a sunrise.

I have a spot on my nose! he exclaimed. He told anyone he could find for the rest of the morning.

When I see life through his eyes, I feel exuberance and a natural inclination to find the joy in everything. He is always telling me how good he is, always giving me examples of how he didnt do the naughty things his brother and sister sometimes do. He is always smuggling candy and bumping around the house with a finger up his nose. He refuses to nap, but he falls asleep in the car every day, and when he sleeps he sleeps hard with little snores rumbling out of his squishy nose.

I noticed something else about his eyes recently.

They are slightly crossed.

The fire and light is still there, just a little wayward at times.

And so, my little guy will be getting glasses, just like me. We will share a spot and spectacles, but after he puts his frames on, his little birthmark will go into hiding.

I know it is there, distinctive and beautiful. And no matter what, I will always be proud.
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