There’s a very young boy sitting on the floor next to me. Occasionally, he looks up and gives me that killer smile of his (dimples!), but for the most part, he’s more interested in his feet. He waves his arms to see what that might feel like, then looks contemplative while he sucks a few fat fingers. “What’s next?” he seems to ask, ready for each new experience. Little things thrill this baby: a friendly smile, the satisfaction of a big poop.
He’s learning. He’s trying.
There’s a young girl sleeping in the next room. Lately, she’s been a handful. She wants the orange juice, not the apple juice. The party dress, not the jeans. She’s a person who knows exactly what she wants. And yet she’s not always sure how to get it.
She stands apart from the other kids at the party, shyly watching the action. “I want to chase her, Mama,” she says to me, looking wistfully at the three-year-old girl in the white dress. “Okay, sweetie,” I say. “Go get her!” But she’s not so sure.
She stands next to the other kids in dance class, strikes a few poses, and then runs back to the safety of Grandma’s arms. “I’m done,” she says, only to return minutes later. Repeat, repeat.
She eyed her first marshmallow with great skepticism this weekend, only to learn that she loves marshmallows. Of course she does!
She’s learning. She’s trying.
And what about me? Does it ever really end?
When anxious thoughts come into my head—of money, of the safety and health of the people I love, of the ever-present potential for disaster—I try to let them go. I try to think about God. I try to remember to enjoy this life. To let my two-year-old daughter “help” me with dinner, even though it takes longer. To eat the yogurt that expired yesterday. Living dangerously, right?
I’m learning. I’m trying.
Isn’t that all any of us can do?