I believe that childhood is a gift. Childhood is a period of innocence and immaturity; a time to explore, learn, and progress. Our Creator, who in his wisdom, sends each person as a child to enhance their life, and bless the world around them.
There is only a single chance to live childhood. Each individual is born only once; body and spirit combined into a tiny infant. A fresh baby, who through much trial and hardship, is brought through the veil of heaven and into the arms of a mother. Totally and completely dependent, the journey of mortality begins. Aging is a mortal concept, a process appointed singularly for our earth life. For a few short years, each person has an opportunity to be young.
My first memories are recalled at the age of four. My world towered above me, my parents knew all sorts of important information, and everything tasted better dipped in ketchup. I watched and learned from my parents; awe-struck with what they accomplished. Once, my father ran behind me as I learned to balance on a bike without training wheels. I knew I was amazing; I was special. I easily accepted everyone, and especially enjoyed playing with the children who had challenges. My world was simple and beautiful.
As the years went on, they seemed to drag slowly. I ached to be older. I relished my childhood, but also looked towards adulthood and the accomplishments I assumed it would obviously bring. Now I am an adult, and those years have flashed by in a blink of an eye; but not without leaving a lasting impression.
I have been aware of the wonder of childhood my whole life, but becoming a mother has confirmed it. I distinctly remember when I became a parent. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, having exerted all that I had into delivering my baby girl. After a few moments, she was put on my chest; my husband came near and wrapped his arms around us. All of our worry, stress, and fatigue seemed to evaporate as we gazed down at this fresh spirit who had joined our family. I have never experienced the same level of joy and comfort from the Holy Ghost except in this moment, and a similar moment of welcoming my son many months later. Just as quickly as our worry, stress, and fatigue dissipated, it steadily increased as we took on the new roles of parenthood. Again, I received the blessings that come with childhood.
Children are young for only a short time. When infants come to earth, they are put in families. Sent to parents who, hopefully, love them. Children learn to depend on and look up to their parents; similarly, to how all of us should depend on and look up to our Heavenly Father.
As a parent, I am tried and tested through my role; through this process, I am learning many lasting and important lessons. My children are loving, forgiving, trusting, accepting, malleable, tender, pure, and hopeful; all the attributes I need to improve in myself. Their example is a gift to me, providing a heavenly resource of inspiration.
Just the other day I found myself engrossed in the busyness of life; frantically checking and responding to emails, loading the dishwasher, getting a snack for my toddler, desperately needing a shower, and trying to write down a to-do list for the day. My three-year-old daughter began following me around and calling my name, “Mom? Mommy?” Thus being ignored, she took it upon herself to call louder and more persistently, “MOM, MO-ooM? MOMMY!” – “What?!” I finally snapped, feeling quite exasperated and annoyed. “I just really love you!” came her sweet tiny voice, as she wrapped her arms around my legs. A part of me melted as I gazed down at my little girl, who knew it was important take the time to say she loved me. I felt guilty for not responding sooner and welcomed the break from my tasks. I bent down to give her a squeeze and an “I love you too!” I realized that my children’s experience of the day differs from mine; free from the stress, worry, and busyness that I go through. They have a better sense of beauty and joy in the world around them. I need to take the time to observe them, and do my best to learn the lessons they have to offer. It is in these moments that I recognize the love of God, and my true purpose; to learn and grow, despite my adulthood.
I count it a blessing to have an opportunity to see the world through my children’s eyes. To slow down, and perceive life through a selfless, curious, loving lens. Their childhood is not only a blessing for them but me as well. My childhood is long gone; an imprint on my memory and soul. As I raise my children, the qualities I once easily possessed are remembered. I continue to learn vicariously through other’s childhood; the precious gift from God.