Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She was born in the summer, and when her eyes
fluttered open, they focused first on her Grandma Hazel. Her parents decided to name her Hazel.
She grew like a weed and asked lots and lots of questions. By the time she was in 2nd grade, she
knew more about butterflies and babies and bees and boys than any other kid in her class. She wasn't
afraid to ask anyone anything. In fact, she asked her teacher twenty questions every day and her
parents stopped counting.
One Sunday afternoon, she kept her mom's attention with a few simple questions. “Why is the
sky blue?” Mom didn't hear her. “Is the ocean ever the same shade of blue as the sky?” Mom muttered
something.“What day do you think our grass will turn green?” Dad walked in and started
humming. “Do you think Carter teases me at recess because he likes me?” Mom looked up from the
dishes and smiled.
She was just wondering if bees really have a queen when Dad interrupted, “Hazel, do you want
to go on a walk with me before dinner?”
Hazel's Mom was busy making a special birthday dinner for her little brother, but Hazel tried
just one more question. “Will you tell me why you named me Hazel?”
Her Mom answered while she helped Hazel tie her shoes.
“We love your Grandma Hazel so much that when you were in my tummy, Dad and I thought
we might name you after her. We had no idea your eyes would be the same color.” Mom went back to
frosting the cake then smiled and added, “You got her curiosity gene, too!”
Hazel's three brothers rumbled into the kitchen bouncing basketballs and the birthday boy
started crying for a piece of cake. Hazel was happy she was going on a walk.
Dad smiled down at her and she asked, “What color are my eyes? Some people say they're
green, but they usually look blue to me.” Dad's answer didn't make sense – something about pigs and
mints. Then he told her a secret. Grandma Hazel was going to come for dinner.
“Grandma!” Hazel ran straight home and didn't wait to catch her breath. “What color do you
think my eyes are?”
Grandma Hazel laughed a little and gave Hazel a big hug. Then she closed her eyes to think.
Hazel was just about to ask another question when grandma said, “Your eyes are the same as mine.
When we wear green, our eyes look green. When we wear blue, our eyes look blue. Sometimes, little
specks of brown even show up!”
Hazel liked this answer, and her Mom gave her a little wink. All during dinner, Hazel chewed
on her fingernails more than her food. She heard grandma ask her brothers all kinds of questions, but
she was busy making plans.
Monday morning turned out to be the first warm day of spring and Hazel couldn't wait to get
dressed. By 7:22 am, she had her favorite short-sleeve shirt on. Bright green. She didn't ask any
questions all morning, not even “Mom, why do you keep feeling my forehead?”
Carter was behind her in the bus line and she was feeling bright and happy. He picked the seat
in front of hers and every time he turned around, she giggled.
He popped up over the seat to stick his tongue out at her, then asked “Why are you so happy?”
“I don't know,” she blushed.
“You have green eyes.” Carter sputtered then hid behind the seat. He started blushing, too.
As soon as she got to her desk, she found a scrap of paper. Day One: Green shirt. Carter said
my eyes are green.
Tuesday was a cold, windy day. Hazel spent a long time looking in her closet and found a long-
sleeve, deep blue shirt her grandma gave her. It had a picture of the ocean with sequins on every wave.
As she walked slowly to the bus stop, she bit her nails.
This time, her best friend, Elle stood behind her in the bus line. “Why aren't you talking?” she
asked after three seconds of silence.
“Oh, I don't know.” She knew, but she bit her cheek and waited for Elle to talk again.
“Are you okay?” Then Elle's eyes got bigger. “Wow! Hazel! Your eyes are like the ocean – I
didn't know they were blue!”
Perfect! Hazel didn't want to forget, so she found her pen and wrote in tiny letters on her hand.
Day Two: Ocean shirt. Elle says my eyes are as blue as the ocean.
Her experiment was working! Hazel hurried home after school to call her grandma. They talked
and giggled like always, then Hazel asked, “Grandma, why do you think our eyes change colors?”
Silence. Hazel couldn't stand it, so she told all about her experiment.
“I'm going to let you answer your own question, Hazel,” and grandma changed the subject.
Wednesday was P.E. day at school and Hazel wanted to wear a brown shirt for the experiment
Since she couldn't find one, she put on the pink shirt that matched her tennis shoes. “Oh well,” she
thought, “now I'll find out what they say when my eyes don't match my shirt.”
The kids in the bus line were fighting and Hazel tried to stand between two boys that were
bigger than her and tell them to be nice. They ignored her, but at least she tried.
At school, the girl at the desk next to hers was crying about her spelling test and Hazel told
her, “Anna, I think you're really smart.”
Hazel didn't have anything to write down about Day Three until her teacher handed her a little
pink note. It read, “Hazel, you have a lot of love in your heart. Thank you for being in my class. Sincerely, Mrs. Pierce.”
“Hmmmm.” All the way home, Hazel wondered. At home, Hazel tried to put the pieces of her
experiment together. She almost called Grandma Hazel, but she remembered that she wanted her to
find her own answer.
“How can my eyes change color?” she looked in the mirror in her room. Even with her pink
shirt on, her eyes looked blue-green hazel, happy, thoughtful and kind.
“Okay,” she whispered to her reflection. “When people look in my eyes they really see me!”