Through a childs eye

We sometimes forget that we were children once ourselves. We move from childlike innocence to adult awareness in small imperceptible steps. One day we’re playing with toys and running around as if our hair is on fire, the next we have a job, a mortgage and multiple responsibilities.

It’s impossible to pin down an exact moment when things change. There are a number of milestones we traverse. Getting a driver’s license; first girlfriend or boyfriend; graduating high school; leaving home and going to college; getting that first pay check.

I slipped gradually into that adult world without much thought, like that Tom Hanks character on the movie ”Big”, or Wendy Darling in Peter Pan. It was easy and exciting to get caught up in the adult world of going to bars, dinner parties, work and travel. After all, these were things that, as a frustrated teenager slowly moving into maturity, you dreamed about doing.

Maybe it’s not the same for everyone, but during that imperceptible move from being a child into adult maturity, I think there’s a lot that gets lost along the way. And it’s only now, as a parent, that I begin to see the good stuff I’ve left behind.

Our boys, Andrew and Christian, will play transfixed with a bucket of water in the pool for over an hour. They fill it up and pour the water over themselves, then over each other and giggle uncontrollably with delight as they do it. I’m not entirely sure as an adult that would hold the same fascination for me but to them it’s the only thing in the world. Nothing else exists but the pool, the bucket and the fun they are having. There’s no stress, no anxiety, no worries. They live very much in that particular moment and there’s nothing else to intrude. How wonderful is that?

I see that same sense of being completely consumed in the moment when they eat ice cream. Nothing else exists but the spoon and the ice cream and the only thing that gets said in between each bite is “more sprinkles please”.

The ability to be completely lost in the moment is something I have failed to do for some time. No matter how hard I try, other worries keep butting in. Have we paid the mortgage? Did I reply to that email? Do we have enough money to fix the leaking shower? With being an adult comes great responsibility!

Kids are also not embarrassed to express their feelings; they just say what they mean and they say the truth (whereas I tend to have to be more guarded in what I say to people). Everything is exciting to them; even going food shopping is a thrill (although it drives me nuts). There’s a general sense of wonder even at the smallest or most insignificant thing like drawing letters or a picture of a train (I struggle to write anything legible these days). And when a certain advert with the Train song “Drive By” comes on TV, the boys dance with unlimited freedom and ask for the song to be played again and again when it’s over!

Children simply aren’t tainted or jaded with adult cynicism. Everything is wondrous to them. There’s nothing they won’t do. Everything is an adventure because everything is new.

Don’t get me wrong, it is fun being an adult. I get to choose when I go to bed, what I want to eat, and I can have a cocktail and feel flattered to be asked to show my license. But how much more fun would the day be if I could look at it through a child’s eyes and see the wonder in everything.

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