I didn’t immediately notice her when my daughter and I sat down at the table our
hostess had led us to. It was one of those booths with a divider wall that only
allows you to see the people sitting next to you from the eyes up. Unless you are a
toddler with a ketchup rimmed, mile wide smile, that is. I first saw the messy,
golden hair out of the corner of my eye. Her full head had quietly peeked over the
wall and as soon as I turned in her direction she said “hi” in an almost impossibly
excited way. My daughter and I both returned the greeting and laughed like
people do when something adorable happens. The little girl held up a sandwich
that seemed oversized in her tiny hands as if to offer us a bite. We made the
decision to wait on our own food.
As I ate I continued to check in on the activities of the friendly little girl. She was
completely enthralled by her surroundings, curious and full of wonder. She had
the same youthful fascination that I still see in my own daughter. A sense of joy
about the simple things. When did I lose that? When did I stop seeing the majesty
in everyday life? When did I start seeing the person next to me as a stranger
instead of a neighbor? Maybe it was a gradual dimming like a tree whose leaves
come back a shade darker every year. Maybe it was a sudden loss. The awe just
cracked and crumbled away, taken by the wind to be recycled for someone newer.
Does this happen to everyone to some extent? It must, right? We get beaten down
by the punches life invariably throws at us until we no longer play peek-a-boo in
restaurant booths. We sprint from one responsibility to the next barely noticing
we’re always on the scenic route.
No matter the reasons or circumstances that caused us to choose the blinders
we’ve adorned we can make the decision to see the allurement again. We can
begin to notice the small, amazing details that seem to get obscured behind the
routine tasks we all must complete.
I’m going to remember to take a few moments each day to see the world through
the eyes of a child, and not worry if I get a little ketchup on my face in the
Connect with Terry at: instagram.com/terrytheyounger
Learning to Live is a new series of blog posts written by Terry Scarbrough and these can be followed on Untwine Me.
Terry Scarbrough is a father, project manager, and writer from southern Indiana, USA.