Last month, our youngest daughter turned five. We have passed the “first five” four times and because of this, I didn’t know whether I should party like its 1999 or go running for the hills with tear-stained cheeks. Because when each of our babies was born, statements of the “first five” had me wide-eyed.
“The first five years of your child’s life will be the most important.”
“The first five years is when your child develops emotional awareness.”
“The first five years is when bonding is the most potent.”
The first five …
In the first five years, there are so many sleepless nights for the budding little one and the parents too. There are temper tantrums and struggles and there are plenty of raw moments that leave you wondering how anyone ever made it through parenting this stage altogether!
In the first five years there are first words spoken, first steps, first friends, first everything. And marvel is a part of every single day. All of the little one’s senses catch everything with huge amazement and this is contagious. So when our daughters marveled, so did I. And when I missed seeing what each of our children saw in the magnificent way they did, then I missed the marvel too.
The other day, I had a normal amount of adult-life happenings scheduled. When I woke up, the girls told me they fixed the ice-maker which had been broken for weeks and caused a wet kitchen wall in the midst of it all. I freaked out and began reacting right away. When our oldest daughter saw my reaction, she held out a cup, placed it in front of the ice maker and Skittles came flying out. It was April Fool’s Day and she had cleverly set up the first of many pranks. She had given me a chance to marvel and literally enjoy a rainbow delight flying towards me. And I missed it.
Then, I caught my breath. I applauded her for her creativity and apologized for my fast and over-reactive ways. I wanted to hit “replay” but life doesn’t work that way.
I was reminded that even when the “first five” are over, all that came with firsts of many’s do not diminish. They flourish and morph into things you never imagined and the marvel?…Well, you get to see everything anew again, and again and again. Because life seems to manifest marvel even when you aren’t that wide-eyed to see it.
While away for a few days in the mountains, I watched our newly five-year-old build a snowman. When she felt she was complete, she stood back and kneeled down in front of him with a beamingly, proud smile. She marveled at what she had created. I marveled at her expression, the peaceful, open valley of snow, the crystallized look of fresh powder and the quiet. I marveled that we survived four of the “first five” and that these young ladies have taught me in their “first fives” and beyond, what I will carry for an entire lifetime: To marvel is a gift from within and absolutely, soulfully easy to pay forward.