Photo: Sharing her ice cream drips with our dog Bailey on a hot afternoon.
Watching my daughter interact with the world has made me hyper aware to just how much we are affected and molded by our interactions with others. Everly is at the age where everyone is a friend. She approaches everyone she encounters as if they are on this on earth solely to hold her hand or dance or play chase with her. Can you imagine how amazing the world must look with that point of view?
I watch her engage with children when we are out and I’m amazed with how easily she interacts with them. No reservations. No concerns about how she will be received. She has no concept of rejection or exclusion. Often she will walk up to a little girl around 5 or 6 and just take her hand. It usually catches the older child off guard and they will stand there, frozen for a moment, while they try to decide what to do about this tiny, smiling little girl who is tightly gripping their hand or has wrapped them in a bear hug.
Sometimes they pull away, clearly uncomfortable. Other times they will warm to her and smile back. When they make it clear that her affections are not wanted, I step in and remind Everly that sometimes people like their personal space and let’s take a step back. But while I never want to make another child feel uncomfortable, there is a part of me that just marvels at the innocent way she hands out loves so gratuitously.
One day the world will teach her that you can’t go around hugging everyone whenever the desire hits. That making new friends isn’t as easy as taking the hand of the girl in line next to you and smiling up at her. That not everyone will like you or will want to dance in circles with you until you get dizzy. And it saddens me some to think a few of these lessons will be learned before she even enters school.
She is the purest of pure right now. A little sponge for life. Soaking in all the most authentic and happy parts and reflecting it out into the world. She is rose colored glasses in flesh and blood. Walking love. Part of growing up is learning the rules and standards of our society. What is acceptable and what parts of ourselves we should harness - but in this moment, she is everything the world will one day try to contain - unbridled joy and light. I’m amazed daily at how much she has taught me about what it means to live and what it looks like to fearlessly give yourself over to the pleasure of being alive.