Lessons from a Two Year Old.
Two years ago, this tiny, little creature moved into our house. She was 5lb 15oz and 18 inches of unfamiliarity and I had no idea what I was doing. I can honestly say I had no preconceived notions about motherhood, instead a few hopes and wishes, but nothing specific. I just knew I wanted a happy, well-rounded, educated kid that said "please" and "thank you" and an occasional "peace out" for laughs. Can I just say I hit the jackpot with this kid? I'm aware that every mother thinks their child is The. Best. Kid. EVER, so that's one bandwagon I'll gladly jump on. This kid amazes me everyday and teaches me way more than I ever thought I could learn from a 2 foot tall urchin.
• Her devotion and adoration of her bestie, a typical run-of-the-mill stuffed penguin, Buddy, is beyond what I thought capable of a 2 year old-- so much so that she says a polite hello to every other penguin introduced to her (and also has Buddy introduce himself), but she remains true to him as his BFF. This small token of affection has reminded me to keep those that matter most to me no further than an arms length away and to stay true to them- whomever they may be. This goes hand-in-hand with her love for family, even though at her young age, she may only view them as friends and playmates. I often enjoy sitting in the background and watching her interact with these important and influential people in her life and it's hard not to feel like you're the luckiest person around.
• Her over-the-top excitement for everything new or unfamiliar- a quick trip down a slide, meeting a new friend - reminds me to look at the world fresh each day. It's easy to get caught up in the routine and she helps me not only look around, but to try to see the world thru her eyes. I want to encourage her to explore and learn thru hands-on experiences and in turn, she has taught me to look at the mundane, everyday things from as many angles possible.
• Her outgoing nature is such a breath of fresh air. I'll admit, trying to sit down to eat in public is a struggle for us because of this ingredient to her personality, but I would never wish for her to be any different. She openly greets passer-bys with a quick and confident "Hi" and a wave when we're out and welcomes guests into our house enthusiastically. It's easy for us to not only retreat into what's comfortable, but stick to those we know and we know accept us. I constantly remind myself to step out of my comfort zone, put myself out there and continue to do so even if those I approach don't say "hello" back with the same enthusiasm.
• Her creativity constantly inspires me. I had always hoped that she would enjoy spending her days with a piece of paper and a box of Crayolas. I watch her and wonder if what she's putting on paper is exactly how she sees it in her head (but maybe just isn't recognizable to me) and from there, I find myself breaking out of my creative box. I let myself mindlessly scribble more often in my sketchbook and I take my camera out to just take shots of nothing in particular. Allowing myself to just create without thinking or without a preconceived result is a calm I didn't expect. I can't wait for the day that we might sit down side-by-side and feed creatively off of each other.
In a formspring.me question, I was asked "What is your greatest fear and your greatest hope for your daughter?" My answer: "Let me preface this by saying most of my fears and hopes for her have to do more with me as a mother than her as my child. I can only hope that I instill strong values, self-worth, independence, acceptance, adventure and creativity into her. The fear is that I'm not able to give her what she needs to be her best. My greatest fear for her is that she'll allow fear to hold her back. I want her to live a full life- take risks, brave the unknown and sometimes think spontaneously. I don't ever want her to think something isn't possible. My greatest hope for her... that she's content. everyone wants their kid to be the best and the brightest... and I want those things for her as well, but not at the expense of her happiness."