I see you now, studying that wonderful new object they’ve just placed before you. Your eyes light up. You get on all fours, ready to crawl, but not just yet. You rock a bit on your knees, your mouth open, forward and back, forward and back, eyes peeled on that thing just a few feet away.
But what is it? What could it do? Will it make a sound, will it roll? Will it be so heavy I’ll need mummy’s help, or will it be so light I’ll be able to toss it and chase it?
You get ready, set, go! You’re on it before you can blink.
Your arms outstretched, you hesitate just in the slightest, gauging how best to pick it up. But you make quick work of this and, confident that whatever it is won’t hurt you, your chubby fist closes around it and you pick it up.
Your face lights up, your eyes meet his and his smile stretches further. Oooh! It rattles! How beautiful the sound! How beautiful is this moment?
Ah, to be you! To see the world with your eyes, to make anew and exciting the mundane, to see possibility in every new space, every new object, every new situation.
To trust that all be well. To take the plunge because you have faith in the people around you. You will not get hurt because you are not alone.
To be confident in every little step that you do, even when it wobbles, even when you’re not completely in control of your movement.
To get up, again and again, and again. Because every fall is an opportunity to rise on your feet (how strange it must feel! How wonderful!) and to rise is to reach and see what you were not able to reach or see before.
To find new letters and syllables to string together in a new and fascinating way, because every time you do that, you bring a smile to the faces around you. And you know, even at 10 months of age, that a smile is a beautiful thing.
To echo someone’s sounds, because you love this game of back and forth and although you don’t understand exactly what it is you’re saying, you do it anyway because it feels good to have someone interact with you.
To find a solution to all your problems in the arms of someone you love.
To find happiness in the simplest of things. A full belly. A blade of grass. A grain of sand. The splash of water.
To be pure of heart, free of hate and prejudice and all that clouds our thoughts and darkens our minds. You have room for light and love, warmth and serenity. Nothing else.
To be full of energy simply because you can. Because you are here, with us.
Where have we lost this wonder? The need to discover what and who is around us, but also ourselves? This ability to see the beauty and possibility in everything, unmarred by doubt and distrust? When did we need to start being savvy so we’re not tricked, to trust less so we’re not hurt, to stick to the devil we know?
Sometimes I grow sad, a powerful feeling I can only describe as saudade – that beautiful Portuguese word with no equal in any language, a deep nostalgic and melancholic state for something never to be had again. A yearning for a happiness that has passed. Your wonder, my son, will cease to hold you in its thrall the older you get. Your eyes will not light up at the simplest of things forever. Your confidence might wane, your distrust at life might grow. Things will change. And I, as your mother, can only promise you I will do my best to keep this wonder alive, to hold the world up for you in its best light, until the tide of those uglier shades sweeps right over me.
But for now, I will watch, eyes as big as yours, as you teach me that there is still beauty and wonder to be found in everything and everywhere. As you make for that pretty purple flower, as you cock your head at the sound of the waves. As you reach out with your fingers and, finding mine, curl up, tight and content.
How beautiful is this moment?