It was almost a year ago that we moved to the North Shore and started calling this place home. Over the course of the year, my oldest daughter, who is almost three, has fallen in love with Lake Superior. I don’t blame her! She loves it whenever the water comes into view and often still makes sure to point it out to me, “There’s the lake Mommy!”
Just in case I forgot it existed.
Last Spring, as it was warming up outside, we started to go on adventures down by the lake. We would go look out over the water, maybe try to spot a boat coming in to the docks, and most definitely to throw rocks splashing into the lake. I don’t even know how many rocks we have thrown. Countless, I’m sure! This rock tossing naturally turned into something even more adventurous – agate picking. As we picked up rocks, occasionally my husband would point out a glowing red agate and stash it in his pocket instead of throwing it like the others. My daughter, of course, took notice of this and had to join in on the collecting.
My two-year old is quite amusing to watch looking for agates. In her mind, she has a 100% success rate. Magically, every single rock she picks up is an “agate.” While I am no expert, I do know that the so-called “agates” my daughter brings into her collection are really just ordinary rocks. It makes no difference to her though. She is a young treasure hunter, and I love seeing the things she finds valuable. In her mind, agates are rocks worth keeping and she finds plenty of those!
Earlier this summer, she grabbed a handful of rocks while we were enjoying a day in Duluth. She showed them to me and we carefully examined them together, like any good collector will do. During our observation, she happily handed one of the biggest ones to a kind stranger sitting next to us saying, “Here! I got this for you!” She proudly presented the simple rock, which was really a valuable currency in her eyes. The woman smiled and graciously took it. Although I was slightly embarrassed that my daughter just handed a stranger a rock, it also brought a smile to my face.
It is beautiful how she finds joy in the simple things and can’t help but share it. Lately I have been trying to appreciate that about her. I don’t want my daughter to lose the innocent, wide-eyed wonder that she has. I want to play and enjoy life through her eyes more. Instead of getting too focused on the tasks of my day, I want to enjoy the day itself and share that joy whenever possible.
I need to appreciate the little things that make my little one happy.
I am still working on that. It’s easy for me to be annoyed or tired of my daughter picking up yet another rock. All I want is to walk across a parking lot without having to make another stop. She is just adding more clutter for my house. That’s the last thing I need.
Then there are the moments I see her pure joy as she proudly looks through her collection of treasures. She has a bucket she uses for her special rock collection and quite frequently I can hear the sound of rocks being dumped out onto the floor. I know that sound means she is enjoying her treasures. When I take time so we can marvel at her collection together, I really get to see her eyes light up.
I need to show her that I value what she values.
While my husband is still patiently teaching her (and me too!) how to better find the agates among the ordinary, I still enjoy seeing my daughter find her own valuable things among the ordinary. The young eyes of a child see things so differently. When I see garbage, she sees treasure. She may value a rock, while I see it as ordinary gravel. She may value a piece of artwork she especially made for me, while I just see careless scribbles. She may value a cardboard box higher than the expensive toy that came in the box.
Part of me wonders if I should teach her to value things the way I do or instead let her enjoy things from her perspective. Sooner than I would care to admit, this little girl will have the worries of life to think about. So I should let her embrace childlike wonder as long as she can. And whenever possible, I should join her and learn from her.
I need to embrace the moment.
This is something I don’t always do. It can be hard. Sometimes things may take a little longer when I choose to do this. Things on my to do list may even go unnoticed for days. But I want to choose my children over chores. I want to choose joy.
I’m glad my girl reminds me to find joy in the ordinary things around me, like the simple rocks in her pockets to the beautiful views that I see daily. I’m glad I have a sweet voice that will almost always say to me, “There’s the lake Mommy!”