From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

My Daughter, My Teacher

Children reinvent your world for you.

Susan Sarandon

Children teach us something every day. As a parent, I have learned to expect this. Yet sometimes the extent of what my daughter teaches surprises me.

When Marissa was six months old, it seemed she was always looking up. As I gazed upward with her, I learned the magic of leaves dancing on trees and the awesome size of the tail of a jet. At eight months she was forever looking down. I learned that each stone is different, side walk cracks make intricate designs and blades of grass come in a variety of greens.

Then she turned 11 months and began saying “Wow!” She spoke this marvelous word for anything new and wonderful to her, such as the assortment of toys she spotted in the pediatrician’s office or the gathering of clouds before a storm. She whispered, “Oh, wow!” for things that really impressed her, like a brisk breeze on her face or a flock of geese honking overhead. Then there was the ultimate in “Wow,” a mouthing of the word with no sound, reserved for truly awesome events. These included the sunset on a lake after a magnificent day in Minnesota and fireworks in the summer sky.

She has taught me many ways to say “I love you.” She said it well one morning when she was 14 months old. We were cuddling. She buried her head in my shoulder and, with a sigh of contentment, said “Happy.” Another day (during her terrific twos) she pointed to a beautiful model on the cover of a magazine and said, “Is that you, Mom?” Most recently my now three-year-old walked into the kitchen while I was cleaning up after supper and said, “Can I help?” Shortly after this she put her hand on my arm and said, “Mom, if you were a kid, we’d be friends.”

At moments like this, all I can say is, “Oh, wow!”

Janet S. Meyer

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