It is so easy to take life too seriously. I find myself doing it every day. To see life through a child’s eyes is perhaps the most powerful way to take a step back and enjoy what has been given to us. My daughter Hailey has so many wonderful gifts which she selflessly shares without even knowing it. Allison and I have commented on many occasions that Hailey has gotten us through some of the most dire of times over the last six years. Her sense of humor has brought tears of laughter where minutes before, there were tears of sorrow.
But as we age, most of us lose that sense of awe for what the world holds. We try to conform our children to society and in the process, we chip away some of their individuality and spontaneity. I find myself doing this and I am ashamed. So to Hailey, I promise to do a better job and to loosen up.
Hailey, here is a little message I wanted to share with you.
To My Dear Little Girl, Hailey
The time was long ago when I was a small boy.
Not a care in the world.
My toys and my friends kept me busy.
Shielded by innocence, living each day with the rise and fall of the sun.
But I have aged, my brow furrowed with the weight of responsibility and experience.
Innocence given way to harsh reality, living each day by the turning of the clock, weekend to weekend.
I have forgotten.
I expect you to follow the rules as if you were inherently born with them.
I impose time on you like a curse passed from generation to generation.
I think of what is going to happen the next day instead of treasuring today.
And there you are, a child, doing what a child does, in spite of it all.
Singing, dancing, whistling.
Fluttering from room to room like a brilliant butterfly passing from flower to flower.
Full of color, vibrant, beautiful.
Your song of youth is pure melody soaring high above the sea of melancholy.
Your genuine laughter tells the tale of a heart bursting with pleasure and joy.
Your gift of love dripping from every word until those around you are saturated.
You are an artist, treating each minute as a blank canvas, then spilling forth effervescent life wherever possible.
I admire you for your glowing, welcoming spirit.
Your compassion for others and your honesty is beyond my highest expectations.
You treat your sister with such grace and dignity.
You have already seen a side of life that to others would seem unfair but to you is completely natural.
However, there are times I am riddled with guilt after raising my voice at you.
For you are just a child who is still learning.
How could I be anything but proud of you?
I wish I had your eyes for a moment so I could see what you see.
To peel back the layer of rigidity that has built over the years.
You make it easy to remember what used to be and what we all can become.
And that I will never forget.