My daughter Wren is a watcher. She always has been and always will be. At seven, her innate intelligence is staggering. She took a while to speak, but when she did it came out in strings of words with emphasis and accuracy. She didn't say much but when she did you could not help but listen.
At one point about 18 months ago, we were living with my in-laws while we sold our house in Annapolis and looked for one in the Philadelphia area. Wren and her brother Dermot were sharing a room with two sets of bunk beds and both sleeping in little nests on both bottom bunks. I was settling them down for the night and had read them stories and giggled with Dermot about some fart joke or another (I have always and will always find farts hysterical). They were a bit restless and I laid down on the carpet between the two beds and quieted them several times in the darkness. Dermot drifted off and then a small voice from Wren's side of the room said, “Mama?”
“I've been thinking.”
Uh oh, I thought to myself, brace yourself Fiona.
“What about Wren?”
“Well… Life is like a waterfall.”
“What do you mean chicken?”
“Well, you are born at the top of the waterfall. Then when the water falls, that is your life. And when you hit the bottom, it's over and you die.”
“Wow, Wren, that's really cool but kind of scary also.”
“Not really… waterfalls are beautiful. Good night Mama.”
At this she turned over and fell asleep quickly and peacefully… I on the other hand lay on the floor for half and hour longer in complete existential angst. She could not have been more right. To her it was all about perspective. You could view waterfalls as scary, which they can be, or you can view them as beautiful, which they are. Life can sometimes be scary, but you can choose to view it as beautiful, which it is. This from the mouth of a five and half year old.
Children are miracles, tiny people who ought to be listened to much more than they often are. They see the world in a way that we jaded adults have forgotten.