Two Life Lessons from my Toddler

Naima De Coteau Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau
Naima De Coteau
Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau
Naima is an avid explorer. Even in the womb, this girl moved with agile determination. She enjoys a good swing or sliding board as much as the next toddler, but also likes walking through the park, picking up flowers, digging for rocks and climbing into trees.

A few weeks ago she layed down in the grass, gazed toward the placid indigo sky and smiled. Not a tepid smile either; one filled with the kind of innocence we see in children, before the world has convinced them to hold fast to reality and stop dreaming  Her quiet exuberance is contagious.

Oh, what lessons she taught me in 2 minutes:

1. Stop expecting and start experiencing.

Hitting the park together does not mean staying on the swings, or sliding board, Mom. There is a world beyond what I “should do,” and I intend to embrace it.

What kind of lives would you and I lead if we turned away from the “should” syndrome? This tendency towards compartmentalizing expectations for our kids goes beyond them and impacts other areas of life, too.

How often are we frustrated because partners, friends, or family members defy our expectations, choosing a path we do not approve? It’s difficult, this pulling back, but there is freedom in releasing the need to control. Every day, I am learning this lesson.

2. Slow down, and enjoy.

We live in the era of multitasking on speed. Everyone, everywhere is busy, all the time. Between floods of emails and navigating social media, our minds move incessantly. Being still is a lost art. It’s not lazy, this desire for tranquility, I promise you all, those times heal us in numerous ways.

In those few moments, lying next to Naima, I absorbed the natural beauty of birds, their rhythmic songs. Oh what lovely sounds.

While my pre-kid life included random meditation (when I could sit still! Ha! ) and walks around the track, headphones were never far away. Reflecting back on those days,  I missed so much.

When you and I are open, the lessons come to us in many forms. These days, mine are often taught by our spirited three-year-old who is determined to help Mommy see life with different eyes.

What lessons do your kids teach you?

Emelda De Coteau
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8 Replies to “Two Life Lessons from my Toddler”

  1. Beautiful post and beautiful daughter! Youth opens doors and eyes. Getting older shouldn’t close us off to that, but more often than not, it does. So glad that through Naima, you are embracing the wonder of life!! ♥ I learn from my kiddo everyday too, mainly to always believe in my dreams, because he does in his. 😉

    1. Thank you, Chel! Love you, sis! Yes!! Isn’t it such a beautiful journey w/ our little ones? They teach us all about taking time to breathe in beauty and light. 🙂 I love that! Never stop believing in your dreams!

  2. Oh out of the mouths and ways of babes!! Thank you & Naima for remind ing us all to STOP and enjoy God’s creation.

  3. This is so sweet! As a not-yet mom, the thought of approaching motherhood makes me hesitant. Do I want to give up life as I know it??? Well, no I don’t. But what I do want is a full life. One that has freedom, love, work and play. One that sacrifices and receives back, 7 fold. And that’s why I can’t wait to see my godbaby with her little sweet self. And, it’s also why I’m steadily trying to get my ducks in a row so Naima can have a baby godcousin! Great article Mel!!

    1. Awww… Thanks, Shan!!! Yes, it is absolutely a journey. I so understand your feelings; I had similar ones before Nai. Yet what you lose you gain tenfold in myraid ways. Such beautiful lessons of surrender… 🙂

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