Life Lessons from a 2 Year-Old

There are days when I want a break from everything.

Like today, for example. When I want someone else to convince my two-year old to wear a diaper when we go out, because the resistance she puts up to it is LOUD, and I am out of creative ways to respond to her.

And can someone else please convince her to wear shoes and socks and a jacket because it is cold outside?  And figure out a way to fit her fairy wings on and fit her into her carseat, please?  Because that is what she wants.

And those plastic dress-up high heels she likes to shuffle around in, can you please follow her around while she wears them and make sure she doesn’t trip and fall while she runs down the wet concrete sidewalk in her sundress and fairy wings in the rain?

Yes, some days I want a break.  I want an imaginary second me to show up and deal with all the things I am too frazzled to do anymore. But of course, that isn’t an option.

What is an option is choosing in this moment to see her more clearly, to be with her more attentively.  To give more.  Go more deeply into being with her.  Surrendering.  This heals everything.  It even erases the desire to have a break.

My daughter: she is two.  She is marvelously self-assured.

She knows what she wants.  Her will is iron strong.

And matched with her iron will, she has these golden curls.  They fall down her back delicately, perfectly, so lusciously.

Her skin is golden, too.  And her smile is so big as she opens her arms to the sky and throws her head back when she dances and twirls (“My balleriiiiiiiiinaaa!”).  It’s just enough to make your own heart spill out of yourself and rush towards her in pure love.

It’s just enough to bring you deeper into this moment of being with her, willing to help her as she moves through the world.  Even if it means doing the illogical: high heels and fairy wings and a sundress on a cold, windy, rainy day.

Even if it means tending to all these things and so many more, day after day, minute after minute.  The creative work of being her caregiver.

But I do it.  I do it because I want her to fly.  I want her to keep her big laugh and carefree way of interacting with the world.

I want to support her.

I want to help her navigate the world in a way that feels true to her.

Yes, supporting her is far more important to me than convincing her to obey me.

Because the more helpful and respectful I am with her, the more helpful and respectful she is with me, with her sister, with the world.

So, l run back into the house and grab her fairy wings when she asks, because that’s a helpful and kind thing to do and it brings me joy to do that for her.

I help her find the high-heel shoes because I see how wonderful she feels when she’s wearing them.

I wash her favorite summer dress over and over because that is the one she wants to wear.  And I watch her put it on HERSELF (it usually ends up backwards and inside-out) because she feels so independent and beautiful in it just that way.

I bring her jacket along, too, because eventually she may get cold and ask for it.  Then I will help her put it on.  I won’t say, “I told you so.” I will just say, “Here, honey.”

And I dance with her–how could I resist?–as she grabs my hand, “dance wid me mama, you balleriiiina!”

I want her to feel that I am on her team.  That I am behind her 100 percent, helping her explore the world.

I want to help her with all the little things that feel big and important to her because I want to be a part of her big things, now and forever.  And her big things will just keep getting bigger and bigger from here on out.

She is fierce.  She is gentle.  She knows what she wants and how to move towards it, why would I want to be a damper on that ability?  It will serve her well her whole life long.

So I take a deep breath, I take a step back.  I try to see the world from her point of view.

And what a view it is:  fairy wings, rain drops, dancing feet, brisk air, special dresses, golden curls down her back as she spins and spins, delighting in the shear fact of her own big-hearted existence.

How precious I can be a part of that.  How precious that I can witness and assist.   And by being with her, I am reminded, by her example, how to know what I want in this world, how to be myself unabashedly.  How to access that carefree, big-hearted, fierce and gentle part of myself.  Thank you, dear one, for that gift, for these life-lessons.  Fairy wings, rain drops, high heels and all.

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6 thoughts on “Life Lessons from a 2 Year-Old

  1. I love this:

    “What is an option is choosing in this moment to see her more clearly, to be with her more attentively. To give more. Go more deeply into being with her. Surrendering. This heals everything. It even erases the desire to have a break.”

    So true. It’s that moment where you can just choose to switch gears, instead of fighting it, instead of matching egos, to just surrender. This happens to me on a daily basis, several times a day. But I usually catch myself. Usually. I’m getting better. There’s a Sandra Dodd quote I love that is quite useful to me, which this reminds me of: It only takes a second to do better. 🙂

    • yes! “matching egos,” as you say, engaging in that power struggle, is so frustrating and no one ever wins! i much prefer surrendering and being willing to be surprised by what my little one has in mind–they are such fascinating, wonderful creatures, our kids 🙂

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