The Teachings of the Young
“A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men.” ~ Martin Farquhar Tupper
Growing up I never envisaged myself with children. At first it was age, then it was health reasons. Then the world seemed to fall apart.
Even when my oldest sister had her three kids, it was like an extension of who she was. They were cute play things that I would happily give back at the end of visits.
Then my brother had children. At first it was an “Oh shit!” Moment. I was much closer in age to my brother. While my sister had always played the roll of mother figure because of the age gap, my brother and I had spent our childhood playing Lego, Brio, and terrorizing each other How ever we could in the way siblings do.
Him having kids was the equivalent of a clown procreating. It just wasn’t right! He couldn’t possibly be a dad. Perhaps it was an ageist thing. It meant we were all getting older. Which we were, but it also takes a certain kind of maturity to raise a child.
Which shockingly, he dug past the hanging of American Girl Dolls from doorways and locking me in the garage and actually found that in raising two adorably energetic little boys.
Of cours he still has his moments.
And while I do as well, in the last few years, I am sad to say I think I have found that maturity.
I kid, kind of.
But as I prepare for my second niece to come into this world, the idea of babies and poops and unceasing crying no longer scares, disgusts, or annoys me.
But there is a certain amount of fear for the future.
Being the “Night time” nanny I am use to kids. Now that I am well past my quarter life crisis, I am around not just my nephews and niece, but other friend’s children as well. I not only get my baby/kid fix, but I now want to keep them the little cuddle bugs, until they start crying of course.
A couple weeks ago, I got to spend time with my two youngest nephews. And while the older of the two is going through the “Treacherous” threes, with all the changes of not just being an older brother to one, but two siblings. Yes, even toddlers go through Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes! We got to spend some quality time together.
At one point he went to his room and was bouncing on his bed, before he decided to put his legs up the wall. Being a Yogi and instructor I couldn’t resist telling him that it was a yoga move. Being precocious he shook his head, “Uh-huh Auntie Kate,” He said with a huge grin on his face. He then patted the spot next to him and told me to join him. How could I refuse such an invitation?
Of course when he was done, about a minute after I put my feet up next to him, he decided to channel his comedic side and put his head against the wall. Laughing manically he said “Look Auntie Kate! Another yoga pose, head up the wall!” I just laughed at his cleverness which for a three year old is kinda scary intelligent.
But I also appreciated his honest observations.
From playing with Light sabers, to Brio. To having sword fights, going sea glass hunting, and sing alongs to Fight Song and Hot Damn (Uptown Funk to everyone else) his childish innocence is so incredibly refreshing. And it makes me want to protect it and him with a fierceness I never expected.
The world seems harsh and cruel right now. Innocence. Goodness. Love. All seem to have diminished.
But then I am reminded of my nephew. Of something he has said. A clever quip in his three year old voice. An uncontrollable laugh. Or the best, him pointing at me and saying, “I love YOU more Auntie Kate!”
That is the goodness in this world. That is unconditional love. It is the sweetness in the innocence of our children. Even in the darkest moments, all we have to do is look at the youngest ones of us to be taught that it still exists. We just have to open our ears and our hearts to receive it.
And to my nephew, “Sorry buddy, but that isn’t possible, because I love YOU more!” <3