Lessons from My Children: Be Giddy

These are Lessons from My Children, a new series on the blog.

Everything we experience is temporary. Feelings are fleeting and newborns learn how to sit up. Sadness ebbs and flows. Happiness is a choice, a way. Like beauty, success exists in the eye of the beholder.

Children beg us for attention and this confuses us because we think our attention is nothing too special, nothing worth working hard or crying over. We don’t always know what our children know. We tend to forget we’re all babies, innocent to the mystery of existence. I’m not sure who has more to learn from the other–children or adults?

We call children innocent because they know so little of the world we’ve spent decades seeking to understand. Including their own cuteness, their own perfection. (Does anybody?) Skyla, now 12 weeks young, bobs around in our arms, her piercing black eyes looking at everything and nothing, taking it all in, this wild world of ours.

But I’m starting to think she knows things I don’t. About God and angels and the intricacies of the human face. Things I’m too busy to notice.

Giovanna spotted a butterfly on the other side of the car window and she squealed like she’d seen a miracle.

And she did, didn’t she? The caterpillar, who went to sleep and awoke with wings, thinks so.

She dragged me into the front yard because “something happened.” Her face looked the way we think kids should look on Christmas morning. But she didn’t need a truckload of presents.

I peered between the newly opened petals and what I saw turned my skin to gooseflesh. I felt like I’d become privy to a secret, a certain intimacy with nature. In blooming, the poppy showed us what she was made of. Not just pistil and stigma, but pattern and individuality, every flower exhibiting different interpretations of the same genes.

Not unlike people. Whether you like it or not, your DNA is 99.9% the same as your neighbor, your enemy and your best friend. In that 0.01%, our opinions reside like stubborn rocks and our passions begin and bloom and wilt and die.

There is no one who experiences pleasure as you do. There was no other baby who cried just like you and there will never be another adult who can offer the world what you have.

It doesn’t matter what excites you, what makes you giddy, it only matters that you let yourself be giddy over the things that bring you happiness in the eternally fleeting moment, whether it’s a flower or an ice cream cone or an unexpected smile. Let yourself memorize faces and stare at patterns until they become something else entirely. Look up. Follow the gaze of children. Just by noticing their enthusiasm I find my heart growing and my mind wandering into uncharted territories where words flow like waterfalls and beauty appears everywhere, as prolific as flowers in the month of May.

20140520-163112.jpg

To read more of my musings on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.

Advertisements

38 thoughts on “Lessons from My Children: Be Giddy

  1. “Just by noticing their enthusiasm I find my heart growing and my mind wandering into uncharted territories…” This is why I’m a teacher. You’ve summed it up beautifully.

    Like

      1. I’m also visiting from yeah write. It’s a weekly writing challenge. Someone must have found this story and thought it would be a good fit. Having read it, I understand why!

        Like

    1. You and me both. Tis the age of distraction, especially since we put so much on our plates. (And we are expected to put so much on our plates.) My daughter was kissing me good night and I found myself thinking about a deadline for an article.

      Like

  2. Description of that flower is so vivid and beautiful that I could see it even before my eyes fell on the picture. Simply lovely post here!

    Like

  3. I can totally relate to this. It has been such an honor so far watching my children experience life.. how lucky are we that we get to do it all over again with a different set of eyes!

    Like

  4. I could sit here and read your blog all day. I can relate to this post in a huge way, especially recently since I’ve been home with my kids and more present with them, I’ve been able to appreciate the lost art of enthusiasm and just allowing yourself to be giddy about your own things. Somewhere along the way, I started suppressing my natural feelings and trying to find happiness in the same things as other people.

    But my kids, especially my three year old who is still unashamedly thrilled by everything all the time, they remind me that life is about being creative and inspired organically. They pay attention to what intrigues them and they get lost in it and they don’t hide their emotions. I think we have so much to learn from them and we often miss it because we are so busy and worried, trying to teach them about practical, worldly things. We miss out on so much of the magic that they are instinctively tuned into. Skyla is a beautiful name, by the way! My youngest is named Skylar. 🙂

    Like

    1. Of course your youngest is named Skylar! Why am I not surprised?? And we call Giovanna “GG!” Do you go by GG??

      I am home with my children as well, and I struggle with being present. I always have so much to do….books and stories and blogs to write, chores to do, a small business that would be crying for my attention if businesses could cry. But when I do get it, when I do live in that moment where “something’s happened,” I feel as if I could explode with joy. You say it so well: “we often miss it because we are so busy and worried, trying to teach them about practical, worldly things. We miss out on so much of the magic that they are instinctively turned into.” That pretty much sums it all up. The poppies were the perfect reminder for me. Especially because they seemed to have magically come out of nowhere. (My mom planted them one day and I had no idea.) It seems we spend the first few decades of our life trying to grow up and the rest of our lives wishing that we’d never grown up and lost that childlike delight and wonder. I know there are adults out there who have it…it’s not impossible.

      Also I feel the same way about your blog. I spent a lot of time on your site yesterday, I just couldn’t quit it. Your words are golden.

      Like

  5. Beautifully written, Lucy! Your prose is so poetic. It’s a pleasure to read. I love how you started the piece, and how you ended it, and the whole message. It’s something I don’t do enough – look at the world through my kids’ eyes. I’m always in such a hurry to get somewhere, do something, finish something, etc.

    I’m very glad this post found its way to the yeah write grid. I hope you check us out and stick around a while. It’s a great community.

    Like

    1. I’ve been on the lookout for a writing community so I’m excited to have found it.

      Thank you for your kind words. I think there are many of us who are seeking to slow down and smell the roses along with our kids instead of nodding absentmindedly, “yes sweetie roses smell pretty.”

      Like

  6. I love the look and feel of your blog. This line: Children beg us for attention and this confuses us because we think our attention is nothing too special, nothing worth working hard or crying over.

    So beautiful and true.

    Like

  7. This. “Children beg us for attention and this confuses us because we think our attention is nothing too special, nothing worth working hard or crying over.”

    Beautiful. I’m missing my 6yo girl who is at her dad & stepmom’s for a week, and this hit me hard. Thinking back to the moments in the last week when all she wanted was my attention. And I didn’t take it seriously.

    Thank you for this reminder.

    Like

    1. That’s always when it hits me the hardest!! When they’re asleep or not with me and my mind starts remembering all of the ways I messed up…and I can’t go make up for it immediately. Painful. You’re a good mama, though. Don’t forget it.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s