Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Can We Learn From A Toddler?

I wanted to share this photo with you in the hopes that it will do for you what it did for me. 

Six under two, including two sets of b/g twins
First let me  tell you about this happy gang of toddlers. If you have visited my Facebook page you might recognize that two of these little beauties are my grandtwins, Claire and Jonah. The other four are the gorgeous offspring that belong to friends from their parenting group. These little ones are so close in age that they play easily and are able to do most of the same things. Their moms and my son, a stay-at-home Dad, often take the group to local parks, playgrounds and petting zoos, and though it looks like chaos looking for a place to happen, by all accounts a good time is mostly had by all.

This photo was taken on a recent excursion and when I saw it I literally sucked in my breath and let out this huge sigh. I couldn’t nail down a single feeling – there were so many that the picture called up for me:

--complete and utter innocence...the beauty of these little beings who are learning at such an extreme pace to prepare themselves for all that is ahead of them, and the fierce feelings of protection that are felt by all those who love them.

--the purest trust that any of us ever experience...the feelings of safety and comfort being with a parent for whom you are everything, the center of the universe. Even if we did not experience that as a child ourselves, we have a second chance at a healthy and nourishing parent/child relationship.

 --the magic of being with a toddler when he/she discovers dozens of new intriguing things in a day. Life is utterly fascinating! Just try to be a jaded, blasé adult when there is a toddler around. Pretty much impossible. When was the last time you spotted something new that took your breath away?

--and the FUN! Yes, it is the most difficult job on earth much of the time, and so relentless! But in these moments when your very soul is engaged with this small one and their completely natural experience of joy and excitement, your own laughter and delight is their gift to you. It can heal and restore your exhausted energy.

And then they spill their grape juice in your lap! Ah, so it goes. There will always be good days and not so good, but what this wonderful photo says is that the privilege of raising a child insures that every day is Thanksgiving Day!

I surely hope that these little ones can grow up to be BFF’s! And I wish for us all moments that allow us to channel our inner toddler at least once a day.


  1. I love it. It's often difficult to stop and appreciate the kinds of things you mention. And yet you're right--so much newness every day. (For them and for those observing their observations!)

    I too hope that they'll be friends forever. Still so young, though. So much time for Mommy and Daddy to change jobs, change homes, etc. etc. But while we're all together, we get to revel in all our kids' wonderment!

    Perhaps as my enduring symbol of awe--to take with me forever--is the memory of the first (and so far only) time my kids have seen a giraffe. Can you just imagine the thoughts going through their heads? "Almost," I'd say, having seen the utter astonishment in their faces!

  2. I am so honored to have my son be apart of this blog. You are so correct; this is a very special group of kids and parents. It's amazing how our kids have brought all of us great adults together!

  3. Having had a particularly challenging day, seeing this photo again and reading your thoughts really made me smile....after bringing a year to my eye. Not all that long ago my kids were toddlers. They sure grow up fast.

  4. Bringing a "tear", not year. Boy, it's been one heck of a day.