Before motherhood, I question how much of my life tilted toward wonder. My twenties focused on “achieving,” amassing abbreviations after my name and climbing a literal ladder that really, in retrospect, had no clear destination. When I worked as a lawyer, my energy gravitated toward busy, the kind that drags you into quick sand. My feet never quite found solid ground. Giving birth to my daughter at age thirty-two, I still continued holding on to the life that I thought held the key. I juggled my legal life and the early days of motherhood. It felt like a basketball spinning on my finger. Momentum created enough for the ball to rotate a few times, but then with very little warning, a sudden drop stopped any progress.
I am not certain when it happened, where I discovered wonder, but I know my daughter is wholly responsible. From her joy in discovering a new word to the sheer excitement of receiving a note from the tooth fairy or the ho-ho-ho of Santa, her capacity to immerse herself into now hit me hard. Often times, as we drive to school she will point to the sky and look to the clouds as a new language.”Look, Momma, there is a dragon. And over here, Momma, I see a butterfly.” I look up and make out the shapes she describes. My glee is muted, but witnessing these moments with her, I refocus my efforts in learning her language.
Again and again, her world is filled with an avalanche of pink flamingo moments. Even the most mundane becomes dazzled with wonder. The steel monkey bars, the acorns lying in the gravel, or the possibility that a rock might crack open and hold a home to gems all captivate and layer her sense of wonder. I started to ask, “Did I ever feel the texture of wonder before witnessing all these moments with my daughter?” The word that kept repeating itself was, “No.”
I am unwilling to equate every moment with the same wonder that my daughter possesses. Perhaps I know too much. Or over the years, my cynicism sometimes colors my perceptions. But I am learning to take my internal telescope and move toward footing that feels more comfortable. Perhaps this is the first time I’ve walked on solid ground.