She found it at school weeks ago. Her preschool teacher said that Adela picked it up at lunch and would not let it go. With our callused adult eyes it is a bent plastic bottle cap, but to Adela it is amazing. She said it was a clam and it is now queen of her shell collection. She talks to it and has made it the mama of all the tiny seashells.
Last night as I was picking up toys I stared at the bizarre thing and laughed.
And then I became just a little sad.
One of these days she is going to pick up this bottle cap and realize that it is just trash.
Our perceptions, even as stable adults, are constantly changing and shifting. The things that we prioritize or treasure morph and evolve.
Not too long ago one of my favorite activities was to go to the mall and shop for cute tops and dresses. Now, if someone were to give me the afternoon off I would want nothing more than to put on the most comfortable sweats I owned, crawl into bed, and read. The mall would not even be thought of.
You think about it, and generally, hopefully, the changes are good. They signal maturity and an ability to better prioritize our resources. But, as I stare at that bottle cap "shell" I was horrifically aware of the fact that there is so little in my life that I allow to be "special". I brush over and rush so many things. I don't make room for tiny miracles and precious blessings because I am so focused on what I believe is most important in life. My heart would have never seen a bottle cap-shell, never considered a treasure. No, my heart would have put it in the trash and been somewhat offended that another being had left trash around.
There is a reason kids are happier than us.
They see joy and promise surrounding them so thick that they are excited simply to get up and go outside in the morning.
Oh, I know I will never have the sight of a child again, there is too much life that my eyes have seen and my heart has lived to really be that way again. Yet I am so thankful that as a mom I get to taste that love for life as I watch my girls.
I get to watch babies play with wrapping paper and tissue more than the toys they receive for their birthday. I get to have weeds brought to me because they are flowers even if they grew uninvited. I get to watch tiny hands pet puppies and kittens with unconditional love and awe. I get to laugh with them when a picnic made of toy food is ever more fun that a real meal.
Some days I wonder if my heart grows younger even when the gray hairs keep coming.
God, you just keep sneaking amazing amounts of love and beauty into my life.