As I looked at the photo below I gasped. Seeing this photo was like seeing a carbon copy of my husband. It's the way my sons grin is so full-on, showing all of his teeth. It's the way his one shoulder is cocked confidently to the side. And most of all, it's the look I see in his eyes. My husband wasn't a huge lover of taking photos. I took most of the enjoyment from it by taking endless amounts of them in a row in a quest to find the perfect one. After snapping the picture over and over I would look at the results and tell him he was "fake smiling". His fake smile was one where he would smile but the rest of his face wasn't smiling with it. His fake smile was terribly close to being a grimace and I would catch it every time. "Joel.." I would say "you have to smile for real!" It was night and day. When he was really happy, and really smiling, his whole face lit up and his eyes would dance. There's very few people I know who can radiate such joy in a smile as he did. My son is now one of those people.
When I posted this photo on social media I stated I didn't know whether to smile or cry. The sadness part is only because of how deeply I miss his father. The joy is because he is so much like his father. He loves music and dancing. He loves tinkering with things and figuring them out. He loves to make you laugh. He loves to be independent. He loves people. Most of who this boy is aligns with exactly who his father was. I see little quirks all the time and I tell him "you are so like your Daddy right now". Of course I tell him he looks like him too. Never as much as in this picture. It's the attitude and the silliness and the confidence all in one. But mainly it's those eyes, they are dancing.