My husband, daughter and I spent the last week breathing in the sights of San Francisco. As a teenager I visited Lombard Street, Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Even though I carried these memories, it felt as if I was visiting these places and others for the very first time.
Travelling with my five year old daughter filled me with wonder. Everytime we encountered something new, she paused and started asking questions. The first questions came with the open air double decker bus. “Momma, we are riding that red bus? That looks like so much fun.” She held her hands up high in the air as we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge. And as the wind blew our hair in different directions, her laughter made me pay close attention to the light blue sky, the ocean, and the ships sailing on the surface. I looked over to one side and succumbed to the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The water, its dull glimmer and movemement carved a pocket of serenity within me. It is not something I can fully describe.
As we moved from one tourist attraction to another, we encountered many people on the streets. What gripped my daughter was a street drummer. She watched as the rhythm of the his sticks grazed his kind of drum, seven of them made out of various types of garbage cans. Fascinated that this wasn’t a traditional instrument, she asked if we could put money in the small jar where he stood. As soon as placed the dollar bills in the container, he acknowledged her by beating out a little ditty, and saying Thank You to her. She smiled and said to me immediately, “Momma he saw me and said Thank You.” This made me wonder about the different ways people seek validation. She acknowledged that his rhythm was cool and he made certain she knew it was appreciated. And for a single moment I forgot that this man sought out revenue anyway he could, probably takings steps to avoid the terror of homelessness.
The final moment of wonder came as we stood in the middle of Muir Woods, where the average age of redwoods range from 400 -800 years. My daughter hugged the trunk of a tree, twisted, brown, the history reflected in the middle of each intertwining, and kept saying, “These trees are so tall.” It is a refrain she kept repeating over and over again. It made me look up again and take in the breadth of these trees and what they witnessed in the last 800 years. The magnitude of that is something I cannot understand. But it filled me up again, the awe of mother nature, and how it can soothe and sometimes terrify.
For the first time, my moments of wonder felt more palpable. Sometimes you need to remind yourself to take a second look because it might mean you are seeing and feeling for the first time.
Do your child’s observations color your own perceptions? Have you done a double take when you hear what your child’s observations? What moments of wonder captivate you?
I think that is one of the great joys of having children around – they open our eyes to the world around us in a way that we have maybe forgotten. Although I (obviously!) wasn’t old when I had my girls, they definitely made me feel young again because I got back to playing and in so many ways I was reminded of how it is to think and see with a child’s eyes.
I love sharing and witnessing my daughter’s discovery of new ideas, objects and places. It makes me smile and adds an extra lovely dimension to my day. Glad to see you in my space again.
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts to us as parents is the ability to relive that sort of wonder that you describe. Seeing things as they were the first time. With awe, and appreciation.
It is a gift I will never forget. And I wish I could bottle her wonder and awe so that I can remind her of it when she gets older.
I understand the feeling of seeing things through your child’s eyes and getting that same sense of wonder. Glad to hear that you went over the GG Bridge. Hope you had a great trip.
We had a wonderful trip. Thanks again for your recommendations. The GG bridge experience with my family will always linger in my memories.
Kids show us what we sometimes forget to see. It sounds like you had a lovely trip. I would have been in awe of those redwoods, too.
Those redwoods were something fierce. I still can’t get over the fact that I was standing in the middle of Muir Forest. A daunting sight, but something that left me with a peaceful comfort.
I think that you’ve pointed out one of the greatest gifts of being a parent – being reminded of the wonder of the simplest things. Just this afternoon I took my 3yo old to the eye doctor and was struck by how marvelous he thought all of the equipment was.
Your post also brought me back to a wonderful trip to San Francisco my husband and I made the summer before I got pregnant with my older son. Thank you for rekindling those happy memories – and for the glimmer of an idea of a family trip there some day soon.
Kristen: I hope you get an opportunity to visit San Fran as a family. The wonder my daughter demonstrated helped me realize how much beauty exists in people, places and the ordinary. It is a reminder that came exactly when I needed it the most.
What an amazing trip! So glad you were able to experience it together.
Thanks Tiffany! I am also so grateful that we had this opportunity and that all of enjoyed the sights and sounds as a family.
Someday I hope to have the incredible experience of seeing a redwood tree in person; glad your daughter got that opportunity.
Suzicate, with all of the extensive hiking and travelling you’ve experienced, I know you would feel at home in Muir Woods. You must visit if you get the opportunity.
Rudri, so happy you had this wonderful trip. We were in San Francisco last year and it was magical to watch my little one excited and taking note of simple great things. Our children are our teachers in many ways.
My daughter almost always is trying to teach me something. In their innocence, there is an abundant amount of truth and wonder.
I’ve had many magical times in the very places you reference… especially the redwoods. So wonderful to see them though child-eyes. Here’s to as much child-mind as we can muster.
I will certainly raise my glass to that Bruce. I am lucky that my daughter helps me cultivate a child-like perspective.