The Simply Wonderful Life

He sat his little 36 inches and 36 pound barely over two years old self in the little red and blue plastic chair. It was “his” chair and he knew that it waited for him whenever he came to visit. He put on the Santa hat and I looked over at him and we smiled. I crouched by him and asked to sit on his lap ad tell him what I wanted for Christmas. His face lit up and his eyes sparkled. I said I wanted a kiss and he planted one right on my cheek. I said “Thanks Santa,” and he and squealed.

Photo courtesy of me, east coast nephew Jalen, Christmas 2013

My bottom barely touched the sofa before an action figure was placed in my hand and I was getting the details of mission. I had to rescue Mario and there were some caves with hidden explosives. I needed to be careful and had to use my power wisely. I could pick any power I wanted to have. With the blue dragon in hand I chose to be a water breathing dragon because that may come in handy with any fire from the explosives.

Photo courtesy of me, west coast nephew Miles, August 2013

We had two long hallways to walk to before we got the office with the toys, easel, paints, sticker, glitter, doll house, and games. She took my hand as we walked down the first hallway sharing the events of her day, looking up at me behind her purple plastic framed glasses, smiling, and barrettes cascading to one side of her head, to make sure I was paying attention. I was. We were just about to turn down the second hallway when she slid her hand out of mine, placed her hand on her hip, tilted her head back and said “photo shoot”. We walked the rest of the hallway like a runway, stopping and posing, taking pictures with each other with our pretend cameras.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Her assignment was to take the body cut out and make it look like her. When she was finished the body cut out was covered in all different color feathers, jewels, glitter, and stickers. Even the glasses she drew had jewels, glitter, and feathers. It was a far cry from the little six year old wearing a navy and hunter green plaid uniform and canary yellow peter panned color button up shirt underneath. But it was her. It was the essence of her and at six she knew that she had rocked the assignment.

Photo courtesy of Erin Killion 

Initially I couldn’t put my finger on why I purchased the two items. They were from one of my favorite stores. They were on sale, like on ridiculous sale, like the one item was originally $128.00 and I got it for $7.50. They were beautiful. I held onto them as I walked around the store, gingerly climbing the stairs to eventually visit all four floors. Nothing else caught my fancy. Just some orange silk cropped pants by Harlyn with a little gold detail near the pockets. And a glass that said “Oh happy day”  in pretty curvy letters above a picture of a hand drawn bed that was pink and gold. I smiled at both items as I stood in the long windy line. I knew why I picked those two items. They captured what I wanted to invite more of in my life. The pants were a relaxed fit but felt luxurious in a vibrant color. The glass was whimsical. An empty bed with the words Oh Happy Day, a reminder of a space where one dreams, where one’s imagine takes flight and wonders about all sorts of possibilities.

Photo courtesy of Obaz.com

Kids are amazing wonderers. The first four paragraphs of this post are some of my favorite memories shared with little people in my life, including my east and west coast nephews, and some of my favorite clients from when I worked at Women Organized Against Rape. Yeah,you read that right. I worked with children who were sexually abused and assaulted and yes, they still had a sense of wonder. They still had vibrant imaginations about what was possible and what they were capable of.

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Law

Somehow or other we get older and we loose our sense of wonder. We loose our grip on awe, amazement, fascination, and curiosity. We find ourselves psychic, knowing outcomes of situations we are often too fearful to even engage. People stop becoming beings with endless experiences, gifts, talents, and abilities of their own and instead either beings we can utilize or do without. Hallways become dead ends to dreams deferred instead of runways. The explosions in our lives become our own inpatient explosive dispositions and refusal to fight for the things we committed to like marriage, or the people we say matter, like our children. We buy wrinkle creams, magic diet pills, and seek out plastic surgeons and then don ourselves in black, letting go of the sparkle we once had.

At not even thirty one of the priorities I had to set for myself was to invite wonder back into my life,  to dust it off and play with it.  To make time to allow myself to engage in moments and experiences long enough to be in awe. And when I stumble across something wonderful, I’ve been sharing it. Whether it’s a wonder inducing photo, wonderful news, or an awe worthy conversation that reminds me just how vast and great life is even when it feels not so great, I am passing it along.  In fact, Friday night I got to steal away to dinner with two friends from my very first full time job, to find out that the one got engaged and the other who’d bee laid off for some time got a new job. See, great, amazing, wonderful news and I’m sharing it with you. Last week my brother called and told me he did an amazing job on his LSAT, scoring in the 96th percentile. More wonderful news.

Photo courtesy of Ellen von Unwerth for Vogue Italia

But, lest you think experiencing wonder is dependent upon others, it’s not. When  take my morning walks I remind myself to look up. Sometimes just taking time to look up at the moving clouds, gorgeous blue birds, or dancing clouds stirs my sense of wonder. Other times reading my Bible and discovering new passages that remind me of how awesome the God I serve is and how much He loves me and knows me leaves me in awe. Sometime it happens during yoga. When I am mindful and in tune to my body, listening to my breath and engaging different part of my body I become acutely aware of how strong, delicate, intricate, and wonderful my body is.

My hope for you this week and this year is to LIVE a wonderful life. My hope is that you rebel against the run of the mill, the same ol’ same ol, the usual, and go after that which fills you with wonder, leaves you speechless, revives your inner child, has you double over in laughter, and ignites your imagination.

Photo courtesy of Vogue Paris

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