The Innocence of Age
And in the blink of an eye, I'm now seeing this:
Jaimee celebrated her third birthday last weekend. I pulled up outside the house on Sunday morning just in time to see Anna walking down the street dressed as a clown. She'd had no sleep the night before. She'd spent the evening and the early hours of the morning decorating the conservatory with balloons and streamers, putting up photo collages of her daughter in the dining room, and adding the finishing touches to the birthday cake.
She then spent the day prancing around entertaining the kiddies in attendance. They were completely enamoured of her, she had them totally under her control. That's impressive when it comes to a bunch of 3-4 year olds. The look on Jaimee's face when she first saw her Mum in that get-up was priceless.
It made me think about the lengths we go to for our children and their happiness. I mean, we feed them, clothe them, and are forever wiping their noses, faces and bums at that age. Their health?...I couldn't begin to count how many times I took one of my boys to the after-hours medical centre at 3 or 4 in the morning. As their parents, we do it because we just do.
Looking after our children when it comes to their health, education and everything else in between, becomes as natural to us as breathing. We're parents....it's our responsibility to ensure they're healthy, safe and warm. We don't have to think about it, we do it automatically.
I have knocked on every door and called through every tent flap on an entire campground, looking for a missing teddy bear that a 3 year old broken-hearted Ryan left on a trampoline the night before. I've worked into the small hours of the morning with my (ex) husband, putting together a racing car set to surprise the boys on Christmas day. My girlfriend's partner forced himself into a heavy Winnie-the-Pooh suit on a stinking hot day to attend her son's birthday party...the kid's were in awe.
We painstakingly sew costumes for plays, make kites, attend concerts, bake cakes, and chase balloons across fields that have been whipped out of their hands by the wind. We sit on the floor and build houses and planes and any manner of structure borne of their imaginations out of blocks. We get covered in glitter, glue, string, paint, whatever...and watch and listen to the same videos and songs over and over and over.
We get filthy and tired from doing these things...and over the years we do these or similar things again and again. Because we want our kids to be happy and we spend so much of our lives making that occur in as many ways possible. The expressions on their faces and the excitement in their voices...makes every dirty, exhausting, sweaty, breathless part of it worth it.
With the age my boys are now, it's easy for me to forget what it's like looking after toddlers that seem to have boundless energy. It's one of the many reasons I love being around Jaimee so much. She helps me to see the world through innocent eyes again. She allows me to appreciate the wonder of so many beautiful things that we can take for granted on a daily basis. Things that can get overshadowed by the pace of a hectic life.
These young kids teach us to appreciate what we've got. If they're happy we know it, if they're not, we know it. They say what they feel and mean what they say. They're open and raw and fabulously untainted with their perspective on life. What a shame that part of our jobs as parents is to help them grow up!