And Celebrate | Finding Clarity Through A Child's Eyes

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This time last year, my family was excitedly awaiting the arrival of my beloved nephew, Liam. Intuitively I knew my heart would expand, but I had no idea how much!

A tidal wave of emotion and deep unconditional love washed over me when I held him in my arms for the first time. How could a sweet being this tiny create such a massive impact on my heart? (Newsflash, Aunt Patsy, babies have the power to do that). 

His arrival has helped me see with more clarity, what is truly important:

Be present.

All we have is this moment. Babies remind us of that. They’re not thinking ahead, anxiously anticipating what’s to come, or focused on what happened three days, or three minutes ago. They’re here now. And, as soon as you enter the room, they’re here with you too. Ready to invite you to play with them. 

Feel your feelings, then move on.

Moment-to-moment this little guy’s feelings can change. He’s genuinely happy 95% of the time, but in the moments he falls, bumps his head, or gets startled, he cries it out and then moves on. As we get older, we learn to push down our feelings, and at some point along the way, it no longer becomes acceptable to cry it out. But, oh if we did, how much better we’d feel! Crying helps us release stress, tension, and toxins, feel the relief and move on.

Stay curious.

To see the world through his eyes is a total gift. Everything is new and exciting. The simplest things are fascinating — a paper bowl, a piece of string. We forget to look at everything around us with wonder and awe. And, man, this world is a beautiful place. 

Give from a place of unconditional love.

This little guy has few expectations and operates from a place of genuine love —sharing his toys, his food, something he recently discovered without knowledge of whether or not his recipient will do the same. And, guess what, those genuine acts of giving immediately elicit a desire to give back. 

Embrace growth.

Week-to-week, day-to-day, not only is his physical appearance changing but moment-to-moment he’s learning something new. It is incredible to witness. If we continued to embrace growth at this pace during our adulthood, oh what a world it would be!

Don’t underestimate the power of a good snuggle.

Hugs can heal. Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Liam gives them freely, and everyone who receives a Liam hug instantly melts. What if we did the same for each other?

These are just a few life lessons I’ve learned from someone who is not quite one year old (yet). I’m curious to know if, in your experience as a parent, aunt or uncle, or grandparent, you’d add anything to this list. Let me know in the comments below.