There are times that I get so wrapped up in what I think I should be teaching Braylen, that I miss the mark completely. Those times when I’m blinded by the fact that I’m reminding her to say please or thank-you for what seems like the ten-thousandth time, I lose sight of what I’m even requesting of her, I’m too focused on just getting her to do the right thing. Too focused on getting her to do what I ask, to follow this set of rules, to do these specific things. When my focus shifts, I forget the most important thing, she’s here to teach me too.
And you think, she’s 2, how much can she really be teaching you? Sure, she doesn’t know her states and capitals, she can’t school me on fiscal policy and she can’t tell me whether or not the Bachelor gave the correct girl the final rose. Oh, but she has something so much better to give, something much sweeter to teach me. You see, she is just two, and that means she sees things through a whole different set of eyes. A set of eyes much different than the set I generally use, the ones that sometimes overshadow joy with worry, that sometimes focus on the bad rather than the good in people.
Just as I’m feeling defeated by a long day at work, as I let my mind wander and drift, I catch her out of the corner of my eye. The familiar motion of her little hands waving towards her. I look her way, she has my attention as she lays at the top of the hill in the backyard and rolls down, squealing with laughter. At two, she has something that I’d like to have. She has the ability to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary moments, overflowing with joy. I smile at her when she reaches the bottom, a big smile, from the truest place in my heart.
She doesn’t need the world, she doesn’t need approval, she doesn’t worry about a thing. She runs back to the top with a clover stuck in the tight ringlets that frame her neck, I wish that she would be this carefree, always. These moments give me wisdom and clarity, they teach me that she only needs me to love her and play with her, she doesn’t need worry or for my attention to be fixated on things beyond my control.
She’s been teaching me all along. From the moment I laid eyes on her, in a brightly-lit operating room. The day I first understood a mothers love. A love quick and without hesitation, a feeling that this bond had been shared for an eternity, yet it was merely seconds old. Each day since has been a lesson in love and thankfulness, a test of patience. I’ve grown in faith and learned that I can’t control everything, not even for my own little one. She teaches me about grace each time she lays her head on my shoulder and falls asleep, especially after a long day, full of toddler antics. As she lays there, her chest rising and falling with each deep breath, her eyelashes resting softly on her cheeks, I forget it all. All of the worry, each and every missed nap, everything else that is clouding my mind and interfering with our time.
If I’ll just slow down, if I’ll just listen better, if I’ll just let her, she’ll teach me things I can’t learn anywhere else, things I’ll treasure for my whole life.