La Chica: I LOVE MY EYESIGHT!!!!!
La Momma: Uh, what?
La Chica: Well, you know. I close my eyes. Then I open them. And WOW! I see bursts of orange! I close them again. Then I open them, and BOOM! I see more colors! Things! Leaves! Houses! Clouds! The sky! I LOVE MY EYESIGHT!
She shares her excitement as we walk through the fallen leaves on windy paths and wooden foot bridges through wooded space to school. I just chuckle. She’s right. We close our eyes, and we open them. And Bam! Hello, world. Rinse and repeat.
I found the unexpected glee and odd timing a bit weird at first. Silly girl, I thought. But then I realized she’s expressing small gratitudes. She’s grateful for the wonder of sight. She’s awed by the world around her. In such ordinary routines and mundane objects she finds the beauty and splendor of the world.
How did I lose that innocence? I am grateful for many things throughout every day. Yet oftentimes I forget how fortunate I am until there is a loss. Until I am faced with an injury or a tragedy. Then it’s a retrospective gratitude. Here she is being proactive about all the little things, that really are the big things.
I remember the first year of The Boy’s life. There was a lot about that first year that I absolutely hated. I hated the fact that the kid refused to sleep. Ever. I hated that I ended up with tendonitis in both wrists because this rather large human demanded I hold him. All the time. I hated that breastfeeding never became easy, comfortable, nor natural. I hated that I couldn’t laugh, sneeze or run without peeing. But what I loved that first year was his wonder.
Witnessing him navigate this world where everything was new and foreign to him was the most amazing process. There was something holy about it. It took me to a place where the world was good. Blue. Bird. Car. Mirror. And that’s you in the reflection. Spoon. Airplane. Firetruck. Fuzzy. Cold. The wonder with each new discovery. The wonder of learning about processes. Buttoning. Zipping. Trash can lids opening. Doors closing. Eating. There’s no judgment. Things just are in an infant’s world.
Everything made him happy. Except sleep. The world was good. He’ll be 11 soon. He’s since learned life isn’t fair and can be hard and sad. He’s learned we don’t always get what we want. He’s learned there’s a lot of judging out there. La Chica is 8. She too has learned these lessons about life. Yet the children still revel in the simple things in life. They are still full of wonder and awe. They have not yet chosen to carry the burdens of the world.
I just love the idea that we all started out as innocent, curious vessels blown away by the wonder of this world. Somewhere through my life’s journey, I too learned life isn’t fair, and that it can be hard and sad. I learned that the world is not all good. Bad things happen. Sad things happen. I feared being judged, so I judged right back with my cutting sarcasm and quest for perfectionism and overachieving. For a long time, I couldn’t just Be in this world.
Through the years, I’ve learned that gratitudes in life are big and small and are all around us. Yet I have lost the ability to recognize the very routine gratitudes like my eyesight. Bird. Airplane. Blue. Buttons buttoning. Zippers zipping. Eyes seeing. Hearts loving. I’ve taken much for granted. La Chica’s reminded me that we are privileged, we are blessed. To have the gift of sight, for the gift of nature, for the gift of feeling love and pain, for the gift of a robust life. For the gift that the world is good.