This post goes out in honor of my daughter’s second birthday.
Her name is Stella, Stella Grace, Stella G or sometimes just G. Her brother likes to call her Stell or Stellie. Stella embodies qualities of human achievement that we can all strive for. Last month when we were leaving church and going down the concrete front steps outside, she fell. She fell on the steps. I offered her my hand and the response was her version of “No help.” Okay. I stay close by to spot the next fall. She gets up, no tears and continues on down. She falls again. “No help.” A couple of little tears have formed in the corners of her eyes, but have not yet dropped. She regains her balance and goes down the stairs, without my help. The tears dry up, she grabs my hand and we are on our way.
I have witnessed my daughter fearlessly exploring the limits of her balance and movement. I see it in big ways on the stairs, playing with her brother, and on the playground equipment at Humboldt Park. I see it in little ways as she learns to drink from different cups, fills a spoon or fork with food and get it into her mouth, or turn the pages of a book. I try to be there, next to her, but let her experience the falls or the spilled food. She imperfectly figures it out.
Sometimes she does ask for my hand or want to sit on my lap at breakfast. I am always good for a hug. I mean there is a time for everything, right?
Today she turns two. She has watched us and learned from us. We have given her a safe place for all of her experiments with movement and language. She is putting the pieces together. However, on her birthday I want to honor the two-way street of her being in our lives. Our children are our greatest teachers. Stella has helped me to remember to smile and to be distracted by silly things. She helps me to slow down. She reminds me that it is sometimes better to do it yourself, but that sometimes it is better to do it together. Most importantly though she reminds me of the great power of the human spirit to connect, grow and learn.
What gifts do your children bring into your life?