Has anyone ever had to encourage a young child to seize the moment? I think not. More often, in raising our little ones, we are trying to teach them the great art of moderation and how to control their over zealous experiences and all-encompassing emotions. In truth, we need for them to back off of the carpe diem a little.
My granddaughter’s personality threatens to dwarf every other’s in her midst. She doesn’t mean to, she’s just made that way. She finds perfect joy in being right where she is, completely and utterly absorbed in the present. At times, this is a major problem, like when she releases her full-blown torrential wrath upon the unfortunate victim who tries to wake her from a sound sleep when trying to get her to school on time. “Don’t enjoy your rest and sleep so much.”
It’s always hard to pry her away from her friend’s house, play group, gymnastics, or soccer. Our little life-grabber acts as if she will never have another opportunity to play and that the world may just end if she has to leave now. I wish you didn’t get along so well your friends and teammates.
She never tires of being in the pool, even when the sun is going down, her teeth are chattering and her dimpled up, colorless fingers are gripping the coin she has retrieved after her one millionth dive. When it’s time to leave, she begs for a little longer if we’re lucky, pitches a fit, if we’re not. “Please don’t have so much fun in the pool.”
My little force of nature also has an un-matched passion for her current project, be it crafting a picture, writing a story, finding a word search puzzle, organizing her stuffed pets or garnering points for her smurf farm, which sometimes makes it hard to pry her away for something so uninteresting as dinner. “Just walk away from what you’re trying so hard to finish, won’t you?”
We spent a week with the grandchildren on an enchanted island in the Abacos. My granddaughters joy meter was way up when my husband and I took her to a smaller island by kayak. Her fins and snorkel were on board, her life jacket around her waist and her expectations soaring into the stratosphere. My husband was leisurely paddling through the oceans deep waters and over the coral rock to reach a wonderful cove where the water is shallow, clear and full of treasure. It took some patience on her part, not to launch right off the boat as soon as she saw the aqua-marine blue of the diving spot, but she waited until her grandfather told her that it was okay.
She was happily swimming around and we saw her face nearly explode with glee every time she stood up to adjust her mask or to show us something she had picked up from the bottom. I was enjoying the moment so much, recalling her mother at this age, when I heard a magnificent sound. That little mermaid was singing underwater, her melody surfacing from her snorkel’s pipe. I have never heard any thing so pure or so beautiful as this 6-year-old siren’s tribute to the fishes in the ocean. I had irrefutable evidence of her oneness with time, nature, and God which is ever-present for all of us, but rarely experienced once we grow up.
Of course, she wasn’t ready to leave when we were, but she was a pretty good sport about it. We listened to her whine, bargain and beg some before she settled down. How do you tame this tiger without loosing her tenacious love for life? Can she keep her “let me at it” attitude without the “get out of my way” part? Today, just for a few minutes, I wondered why anyone would want to.