My rose colored glasses faded as I grew up and lost my sense of innocence and childhood make believe. Just like the young boy, Jonas, in my favorite childhood book, “The Giver” who ultimately learns the true pain and pleasures of the ‘real world,’ so too do our children. Right now my two year old is in the pre-enlightenment stage if you will. She sees the world within an arms reach of us. To her, the world is us, our home, her extended family, and that one dream trip to a water park, which she does not stop talking about.
I look at Logan, so wide-eyed and free from thoughts that plague my mind and heart. She does not yet know or understand pain. Besides a stubbed toe and a fall on our tile floor which cut her little chin, and nearly caused me to rush her to the emergency room, only before my dear hubby talked me off the Mommy is going Crazy train, Lo does not yet know the heartache and sadness of our world. She does not turn on the TV to hear negative after negative streaming through the air waves. Today’s media waiting in anticipation for the next breaking news that will send their stations into ratings glory. She does not see the sadness in the wake of terrorism and earthly disasters. A women lay on the streets of London, with blood from her head, in shock over what just happened. A family of four stare off into the wreckage, with the shirts on their backs, their now only earthly possessions as a tornado ransacked what was once home. No, you see, children do not yet know the level of sadness, the despair and the evil of the world.
I look at Lo and think, “Gee, if only heartache reached the level that exists within her.” For Lo, heartache is a night with her blankie left at her MiMi’s house or a lost toy, we scour the house for. Heartache is not infinite. It is merely temporary. Unlike what so many of my friends and family at this very moment are struggling through. A father battling cancer. A friend who just shared a recent and devastating diagnosis. The loss of a child, gone too soon. That heartache never goes away. We learn to just deal with the pain.
My daughter judges others by their character. Lo learns to love and trust those around her through their actions and interactions. Do they show her genuine interest? Are they kind? Do they give her attention? She does not distrust or dislike someone over their political affiliation, the color of their skin, the actions and bad decisions they made many years ago. I could go on and on. We live in a world where judgment is the new cool and quite frankly it scares me at how quick we judge others and make assumptions on their life from the mere moments we see play out on social media.
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I watched Lo attempt to skip rocks this weekend along the Savage River in Maryland. A forest so untouched by humans and commercialization. My husband adores the outdoors and makes any excuse he can to be there and get there. This weekend his excuse was valid as he set up camp with buddies along the river to wake before the sun and meet nature at the water’s edge for opening day of trout season in Western Maryland.
We joined him halfway through the day to play along the waterline, roast hot dogs over a fire and enjoy the 70 degree March day. As my feisty two year old traversed the land around her I noticed just how differently she took in the surroundings. The forest is big and mighty and while it overwhelms me with its acres upon acres of timbers and tall cliffs, just a few yards into the woods around the campsite was so much for my little one to take in and explore. She ran in glee to a giant bolder sticking out of the earth to climb all over, and yell “take a picture!”. She ran through the woods grabbing sticks and she spent way more time than the best adult’s attention span ever could looking through the bed of rocks for the perfect one to throw into the river. She stood on the shore, bent over and touched the cold waters and laughed in delight.
We take it for granted. All of it. Nature. This Earth. Our life. As adults we become jaded, rough around the edges, non appreciative and numb. I blame it on our desire to learn more, maybe even share more and our loss of innocence. With knowledge comes truth and as we uncover life’s truths we unearth more pain and reality. We open up Pandora’s box to what exists in this world. The good, the bad and the ugly. Those rose colored glasses turn a shade of gray and we live vicariously through the glee of our children.
My little girl does not know how wise she is in her two-years of age. Her actions speak volumes to me. I look at her at this very moment, living such a simple life, relishing in it and realize that the innocence she carries now is truly the foundation of her future. The moments, the stories, the experiences we are making right now with our children is what will build their faith, character and intelligence to face even the cruelest realities of our world.
We can feel all the feels that this world gives us. True sadness and sorrow, but also practice happiness and gratefulness. While this world is tough, cruel and not fair, I guess if I have to endure those emotions to also experience life’s greatest blessings such as happiness, joy, fulfillment, forgiveness and gratuity. I will take the bad for the good in a heartbeat.
And, I thank my lucky stars for my daughter who every day reminds me that this world can be a beautiful place, that life is great and that my rose colored glasses just need readjusting.