Tuesday, June 13, 2006


whenever i come to her parents' front door, there she is - beautiful and affectionate. her little pudgy arms reach up as if to say, "pick me up, hold me, say hello to ME!" and it is the best feeling in the world to be loved that innocently and unconditionally, even if she's not my own daughter.

i'm a little jealous of her ability to just open herself up like that to whoever comes to the front door. she looks so happy, so free... i know that one day, just like we all did once upon a time, she will learn fear. she will get shy and wary and start making up her mind to hold herself back and check people out before approaching them. she's not even two years old yet, but she is already starting to reserve her cheerful toddler babbling for those she feels most comfortable around. it's just a matter of time before she's picking who's in and out of her elementary school clique and averting her eyes from strangers to keep from being approached by the unknown, the dangerous, the scary. i don't look forward to this loss of innocence, even though i know that in this risky world, it's best that she learns how to be careful among strangers.

i think it's the smile. her rounded cheeks, her little baby teeth, all decked out in an expression of happiness for its own sake, as she is entertained by the idea of someone new to play with. it's so endearing and inspiring. i wish we could all be more like that. you know, smile more honestly, like how she smiles, and be more optimistic about the intentions of folks that we come into contact with. it would be wonderful if we could welcome the guests to our lives more readily, with outstretched arms and a bountifully beautiful offering of good spirits.

in any case, i take joy in living vicariously through her wonder and excitement when she greets whoever's at the door. it's a treat for my eyes and my spirit, and i'll get what i can from it until she learns to be wary like the rest of us.