“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
I’ve taught a number of things in my life with varying degrees of success. I’ve tutored elementary school children and taught university classes. I taught my dog to shake a paw, my wife to use chopsticks and my mom to use facebook (admittedly not well as she will still sometimes call me with questions like “Kristin I think my facebook is broken. I can only see my own posts but not other people’s"). There was even one summer when I coached softball (I don’t know how that happened either).
|This is me circa 1996 holding a clipboard and pretending to look all coach-y. I had a lot of hair back then.|
I’ve found fulfillment in all of these tasks. The joy of seeing an undergrad student understand complicated theoretical musings should not be understated. The excitement of seeing Fergus figure out that lifting his paw to my hand will get him a treat made my heart swell with pride. And when my mom finally figured out that she didn’t need to sign every facebook wall post “Mom” because her name was right there I felt like I had finally taught something to the woman who taught me so much.
But none of these moments could have prepared me for what it would feel like to watch my baby learn. His first trick was the noise that your lips make when you push them together (you know, that duck lip expression that is all the rage with teenagers in facebook photos) and then blow. I cried the first time he mimicked me. My baby’s a genius!
His next feat was saying Mama. That was when my heart exploded.
And since then the learning hasn’t stopped. Recently he (accidentally) crawled for
the first time. I will never forget the look of satisfaction in his eyes.
|Trying to crawl to Gramma. He now forgets how to do it.|
Every day is a new adventure and a new skill to conquer. At least once a week I am brought to tears as I watch his tiny brain master some new task. I've rejoiced with him as he learned that the soft part of a banana is better than the peel and cheered when he learned to high-five with his Auntie Tata. As he figures these things out I feel a kind of overwhelming pride that I could have never imagined.
And as I watch him learn I realize that as much as I am teaching him he is teaching me so much more. He is teaching me that sleep actually is essential to our well-being and that we should all get more of it. He has taught me that smiles are infectious.
He has taught me that there is no such thing as too many family hugs. And he has taught me that messes can be cleaned-up and sometimes they are worth the effort.
|My kitchen was covered in pieces of strawberry. But my baby was happy.|
He has truly taught me that a human’s ability to love is more infinite than words can ever express. He has taught me that my purpose in life is to love first. But perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learned from my baby is that the very worst day can be fixed with something as simple as a fresh strawberry.
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