I love when my daughter notices something that is beautiful. She admires the falling snow, princess dresses, a sunset, nail polish color, or her collection of dolls with an equal amount of unguarded enthusiasm. She squeals, “It’s soooo beautiful!” and then demands that everyone within hearing distance appreciate that beauty. Immediately.
Besides the obvious, she often notices things that most would not stop to admire or appreciate. She does this often, but it still catches me off guard.
In early winter, we had series of rainy, chilly days that coincided with my husband traveling for work. After the second day, I had reached my limit of the messy commotion of kids trapped in a house all day and had no desire to make a bigger mess in my kitchen, so I decided to venture out for some takeout food. It was definitely not the ideal conditions to tackle an outing with two young kids on my own. Finding the shoes, zipping the coats, yelling at them to stop jumping in puddles, and then waiting for them to climb into the car left me dripping with rain and annoyance.
Needless to say, by the time they were safely buckled in their car seats, I was regretting my Chinese takeout decision and wishing I had just poured bowls of cereal instead.
The wipers furiously swiped the rain from my windshield as I attempted to tune out the backseat clamor and concentrate on the road. My son was still adamantly insisting that we should have brought an umbrella with us (yeah, that probably would have been a good idea, buddy!), and my daughter kept saying over and over, “This is not such a great day out,” as she looked at the rain pour down on the car.
Now, my daughter has never been much for car rides. She often fills them with complaints and comments such as, “This is taking forever.” My husband and I once counted the numbers of times she said that on a trip home from Ocean City; we stopped after fifty!
As an infant, she would cry when we put the car in reverse. She would cry when we braked at a stop light. She would cry when we turned left. And, of course, she NEVER napped in cars. In general, she has always been somewhat grumpy about being in the car, so I have become rather adept at tuning her out.
As we exited our wooded development and then drove through town, we stopped at a red light in front of the local shopping center. The car was silent for one brief, rare moment. As I tried to strategize the easiest way to get both of them out of their car seats without me getting drenched, my daughter suddenly broke the silence with a small, delighted gasp, “It’s soooooo beautiful.”
I turned around and saw her small hand pressed to the window. “Mom, look at all of the sparkling lights,” she said in awe as she gestured to the drops of rain on the window. Each drop reflected a colored light from the cars and shopping center signs surrounding us.
It was something beautiful. Purple, yellow, green, and pink gems of water shimmering in a gloomy, cold night.
In amazement, she looked from side to side at all of the windows in the car. “It’s ALL so beautiful!” she exclaimed. She opened her arms wide as if she could take those sparkly drops of water, pull the evanescent colors close, and embrace them forever.
I hope she holds on to this … this ability to see magic in the mundane. I know she will continue to see beauty in the “cotton-candy” clouds at sunset and the reflection of sun on water, but for how long will she notice the quiet beauty of the everyday “inconveniences” of life? She recently saw me spill a bag of flour all over the kitchen floor. As I sighed and reached for the broom, she turned to me and smiled, “Look, Mama! It looks like snow!”
So often I am too busy or too annoyed or too tired to notice the beauty in the day-to-day scenery, mishaps, or encounters of life. Where I saw a cold, rainy night, she saw sparkling gemstones. Where I saw a mess to be cleaned, she saw snow.
As her fourth birthday approaches, this is my wish for her:
My dearest daughter, I wish you a million drops of rain to sparkle and shine around you. I wish for you a lifetime of seeing beauty in the small moments. I hope, no matter how busy, annoyed, or tired you are, you always remain open to the wonder of the world and still declare in your loud, clear voice, “It’s soooo beautiful!”
I hope others listen.