|Birthday Cake. Copyright Andrea Paterson. Amaranth Road Studio. 2013.|
If he is young, then I am old. If he is one then I should be wise beyond measure, but the wisdom promised with age is a unicorn thing. Perhaps extinct, perhaps a creature that only existed in wildest imagination. The glimmering horn of knowledge protruding from the third eye is the stuff of myth, something out of reach.
I am beginning to think that we have it all backwards. That we are born with stores of wisdom locked up inside pre-verbal minds. Our knowledge is all feeling. Just raw emotion that pours fourth and a perceptiveness that we will never recover once we are ruined by too much talking, too much television, too much stimulus from every side.
We each began our lives in the stillness of water, in the darkness of Mother, in the forever rocking world that was all warmth and being held forever. Being born into the light it seems we carry with us a bit of that first silence and an ability to feel everything without the barrier of carefully constructed defenses. I have never seen such pure joy as on the face of my small son, nor have I seen such unmasked sorrow. He flies between emotional extremes, and yet takes it in stride. He is capable of feeling the depths of despair and the most soaring happiness in the space of minutes. He lives for the moment because moments are all he has.
There is a story that says that the gap in a baby's skull connects them to the spirit world, to the place from which they came. As it slowly closes during their first year they become more deeply rooted in the physical world and their grasp on the other plane becomes more tenuous. I find it interesting that children begin to speak right around the time their skulls fuse. It's as if they were speaking in a different way, to invisible beings, in another world for awhile, and only when they are completely rooted here do they begin to take up our own modes of communication.
My one year old has yet to utter his first word and when I run my hand over his head I can still feel a slight depression, a softness that still pulses quietly. Perhaps he still belongs partly to another place and so I think he is wise and that I have forgotten more than I will ever know. I don't know what it is to trust the world implicitly as he does. I have forgotten how to wake up each morning smiling and expecting all good things. I repress my tears and repress my exuberance and repress my voice, but he lives with absolute freedom.
To my son, at the end of your first year, I hope that you will carry forth just a tiny portion of your confident nature, that you will allow yourself to feel deeply even when the world says that you should shut yourself down. I hope that you will remember that its okay to cry because our tears can heal us. I hope that you will hold on to your capacity for joy and your deep curiosity. How quickly we forget what it is like to be a child. You won't remember these early years but I will remember them for you and carry forward your spirit of exploration, intensity, and excitement.