Would you believe me if I told you that my teacher is only six years old? Well, believe it or not, my teacher is only six years old.
My daughter unknowingly teaches me something every day. I learn from her constantly, not by watching her habits or listening to her stories (although her stories do keep my imagination alive), but by what she brings out in me.
A few years ago, I was going through a rough time. Being a single mom, everything around me seemed to cast a shadow that haunted me. I looked at every aspect of my life with a negative point of view… until one particular Saturday morning when I prepared my coffee.
Sofia walked up to me and matter-of-factly said, “You have beautiful coffee.” Pausing, I looked into my cup of freshly poured coffee. I then noticed the graceful swirl of creamer… and inhaled the rich aroma. It smelled good.
“I guess you’re right, Sofi,” I said, embracing her, “my coffee is beautiful. Life is beautiful.”
For a small two-year-old, she sure made a large impact on me that day.
There was a new light beginning to shine on life.
Now, I’m not saying that I’ve become this perfectly positive person since then. It’s been a few years, and life’s had its “ups-and-downs.”
A lot has happened— I got back together with Sofia’s father, moved in with him, changed jobs three times, got pregnant, moved again with my family and dealt with vehicle problems.
It hasn’t been a walk in the park. It’s been more like… multiple rides at an amusement park. Repetitive rides. The ones you keep riding when the there’s hardly anyone there mid-week and you can’t get enough of the thrill of your favorite one. That’s me. I’m the one that rides the same roller coaster over and over.
One thing that did change since I made “beautiful” coffee, though, is my perspective.
For the most part, when I’ve caught myself drowning in all the ugly parts of life, I flash back to the day my then two-year-old reminded me that life is beautiful.
Day by day, I haven’t whipped out my journal and documented every single lesson my child has taught me, but some of the most memorable moments of my life during these past few years have included a very intelligent little blue-eyed girl reminding me of something important.
The other day, while out on a walk, we picked up a few acorns and leaves in hopes that I could conjure up some sort of Thanksgiving craft project.
For the rest of the day, I contemplated different ideas in my head after scanning through the internet. Ornaments? Nah. Squirrels? Nah. A wreath? Nah…
I decided to get a few things together that we already had, like foam, pipe cleaners, etc. so I could try to think of something on my own.
Then, I remembered we had red paper plates. A turkey! With the leaves as feathers and the acorn pieces and foam for the face! I had it all planned out. So I told Sofia my idea. She shrugged and seemed to agree… Then, while I rocked her newborn sister to sleep, she started getting everything out to scatter it on the table. Oh, I have OCD about this sort of thing. She didn’t listen, of course, when I told her to just wait for me.
Next thing I knew, she was painting an acorn white with puffy paint.
“No, Sofia! We’re supposed to glue those on the paper plate for the turkey!” “It’s okay Mom, I’m making a snowman,” she replied, “you don’t have to get butt-hurt.” Taken aback, I shut my mouth. She was right.
I didn’t have to overreact about some idea that I had versus her idea. My child’s ability to express her creativity was way more important. What kind of mom am I? I thought. I don’t need to be such a perfectionist.
Trying to avoid perfectionism has been my theme this past week. Once again, when I catch myself trying to get everything “perfect,” I think back to the other day when my six-year-old taught me a lesson.
Did I mention that I now have a one-month-old daughter too (named Cristina)?
Well, my oldest daughter has taught me so much that I automatically start each day with an open mind, ready to learn something about myself from my newborn.
The first thing was the fact that taking care of a baby is like, how the old saying goes, “riding a bicycle.” It comes so natural to me this on this round.
Sometimes, for example, she’ll need me when I’m the middle of something that wasn’t that important anyway, so I redirect my attention toward tasks that are. I see these moments as lessons rather than obstacles.
You see, we can all learn from anything and anyone in our everyday lives.
There’s nothing more refreshing than a new point of view, so I’m asking you this— what can your child teach you today?