Jan 16

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The freedom of childhood

Over the weekend I got to spend an evening with my friend Bethany and her adorable 2-year-old daughter T. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so this was the first time I got to meet T. She’s a bundle of energy and a firecracker.  She was also amazingly willing to entertain herself with markers and a coloring book at dinner while Bethany and I talked.

As T. colored, I noticed a pattern.  She’d pick a marker color and turn to the first page of her coloring book.  She’d color in a character’s shoe. Then she’d turn the page and color in an arm. Then she’d turn the page and color a face. Then she’d turn the page and color a cloud. Then she’d turn the page and color a leg.  And so on.

When she got to the end of the book (which only took a few minutes), she’d take a break for a minute and then pick up another marker color and start again. Each page was like a growing mosaic of colors.

There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what portion of each page she chose to color – she just chose a shape and started.

As I watched her, I thought about my own coloring book habits. I don’t remember what I did at age 2, but I can tell you for sure that at age 6 there’s no way I would have been able to do what T. does. I had to finish a page before I’d let myself start on a new one.  And I was always nervous to start on a new one because if I messed it up, it would be ruined. I don’t remember exactly what constituted a “messed up” page in a coloring book in my 6-year-old mind, but I remember the feeling that went with it.

Watching this child, I realized again how tightly I’ve held myself – even since I was a small child – and how much perfection I’ve required of myself.  At two she has a freedom of spirit and a knowledge of what works for her far beyond anything I could have imagined.  I’d like to think that in the last five years I’ve begun to find some of that sense, but I still have to think about it and remind myself.  This child does it because it is a part of her.

What an amazing blessing it was to sit and watch her for an hour.

Thanks Bethany and T. for a lovely evening.

About the author

Leah Carey

Leah Carey is the Chief Miracle Officer of The Miracle Journal, where she writes about the large and small miracles that happen in her life every day. She is a life coach, speaker, journalist, freelance writer, and lover of life. In all of those pursuits, she works with people to identify what’s already right in your life so you can build an even more joyful and fulfilling daily experience from that foundation. You can find her on Facebook, , Twitter, and YouTube.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.leahcarey.com/themiraclejournal/2012/01/16/the-freedom-of-childhood/

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  1. Nancy

    Your such a great mom..I am sure you had a nice son also..Thanks for sharing your story..

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