Lately Cooper has been VERY enthusiastic in his greeting of either his father or me when we pick him up at school. Or when one of us arrives home. There is a shout of “Mammammammamamaaaa” or “Daddydaddydaddydaddy” and the person in question is the recipient of a hug worthy of Warren Sap (my favorite for winning Dancing with the Stars this season).
It is enormously gratifying. That is an insufficient word. It is make me melt in my boots, crumble to the ground, smile the biggest possible smile of my life gratifying. There is an exuberance and joy that comes with it that will be hard to match in later years when he becomes more self aware, self conscious. So it is a kind of bittersweet experience in a way.
One of the blogs I like to read, Baby Squared – see bloggy love for a link – talked recently about how she loved seeing one of her twin daughters be so free, so enthusiastic about things, in this time of her life where she doesn’t have a sense of other people’s opinions of her, isn’t censoring herself because of concerns about how she will be perceived. She wondered at what point did she herself begin censoring herself, and stop being fearless or free without concern for what others think.
I understand what she means. At some point we all become self aware, and some of us keep on dancing like no one is looking, but others of us begin hiding parts of ourselves away. I remember one day going to find a teacher after school and walking into a room where one of the other teachers surprised me and said something along the lines of “Aren’t you little Miss America”. I had no idea what she meant by that. I felt supremely self conscious and had no idea if I was being mocked or complimented and in either case it didn’t sound good, coming from her that way. I was probably in 4th grade, 9 years old. Just on the cusp of being REALLY self aware. I spent a good portion of my youth pretty much just wanting to fly under the radar, doing my best but not drawing a lot of attention to myself. It wasn’t until I went to college that I began feeling the confidence to put myself out there in the theater and other venues. The irony here being I went to a very conservative college, so being bold and out there was not hard – don’t go to church some Sunday morning and see what happened.
My point here is that I relish the abandon that being 2 years old comes with. You can scream out of sheer joy or throw a tantrum and not care a whit what anyone thinks. You can run around laughing your head off and making fish faces for an hour, no one is going to not hire you for a job. I wish that the rest of life could work this way, to a certain extent. And I guess it does for some. I look at some of the fashion students on campus who dye their hair pink and wear items of clothes that I would not have ever considered putting on and am glad they have that spirit. I am not afraid to wear a costume for our office Halloween party, but I do have to edit WHAT I wear. No naughty nurses or pregnant nuns here. Not that I would go that route anyway! But I do hope that Cooper hangs on to that joyful exuberance for as long as possible, being true to himself.
And after I just ran spell check on this I would personally like to say thank you to blogger for THAT feature. YIKES.