Nobody lives life bigger than a toddler.
And this one’s big life is full of zest, passion, and adventure.
She’s no stranger to danger; she’s not averse to risk. When she sees an opening for a magical moment, she leaps on it. No hesitation. No analysis over what might go wrong. She’s just all in.
And that means she’s always getting hurt.
She has no qualms about announcing the pain, either, whether she’s caused it herself or suffered it at the hands of someone else.
Me, I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to someone else’s pain. But definitely not my own. Unless we have an intimate relationship, you’re likely never to know that I’ve been hurt. I think part of that comes from this belief that I’m supposed to be strong. Part of it comes from my natural tendency to forgive. But most of it comes from the fear that the person who hurt me just won’t care. I’m in my mid-thirties, so I’ve had a long time to learn that the latter is the case too often.
But little kids don’t work like that. They’ve yet to experience the kind of hurt that crushes the spirit. Or…the more I think about it…maybe they just choose not to allow that. They’re too full of this beautiful essence to be stopped by the possibility that someone else may not appreciate their pain. Like my little girl. The fact that she feels it is enough for her to know it’s real. She doesn’t need validation.
And when you choose to live a life this big, a life this full of passion, you have to make space to feel it all. My little one lets herself cry when she’s hurt — and if it takes heaves and snorts, she will sob without abandon. She willingly shares when you’ve hurt her, physically or emotionally, or when she’s done it to herself, or when it’s the fault of a window or a dog or the sidewalk. There’s nothing personal about it. There’s never blame, or anger, or malice. She just thinks you should know. Every now and then, she might bring it up as a reminder — not even to you, if you’re the source of the pain — but just out loud, as if it’s something she should remember and try to avoid for next time.
And then, just like that, she’s over it. And she’s ready to move on to the next adventure. That doesn’t mean it’s stopped hurting. It doesn’t mean she isn’t allowing it to heal. It just means she won’t let it stop her from living her life and living it as BIG as she planned before.
Where I see risk, she sees life.
When I see danger, she sees adventure.
When I fear pain, she dreams of possibility.
Sometimes I wonder what I might have accomplished in life if I’d stopped letting the pain cloud the possibility.
How many hours, how many days…how many years have I been standing still, choosing not to move forward? Choosing to focus on the risk and not the adventure? Choosing to focus on the pain and not the healing?
Choosing to forget that a person can still live beautifully, even during the healing process.
But if I’ve learned anything from this tiny soul, it’s that the human spirit is capable of extraordinary things. No matter how we’re crushed, we’re capable of dusting off and moving along. There’s a grand life to be lived.
So let’s acknowledge the hurt. And then let’s find an adventure.