IN eight days, Elsie will turn four.
Another year older, another age reached, another little milestone passed.
Last week we had her first school induction, the week before that I bought some of bits and pieces of her school uniform and on Friday she will visit nursery for the very last time and we will say goodbye to the staff who have done such a wonderful job of looking after her.
My girl, my precious, force-to-be-reckoned-with, incredible girl is growing up fast and I could not be prouder.
Last week when I picked her up from nursery, one of the staff said of Elsie: “she’s turning into such an amazing little girl!” and I couldn’t agree more.
But it still hurts.
The bittersweet pangs that I feel when I realise that she is becoming more independent, wiser and older by the day.
Four years have whizzed by in the blink of an eye but without doubt they have been the most incredible years of my life and some of the most educational.
Elsie, my beloved Elsie, has taught me more about life and love and myself, than I ever would thought possible four years ago.
Yes she is my daughter, but she is also the wisest teacher I know…
EVERY MOMENT MATTERS
Mindfulness is a buzz word these days. You only have to hop on Twitter or FB for a few minutes to come across an article on how to be more mindful in everyday life.
Yet when I look at Elsie I’m always astounded at how easily children ‘live in the moment’, how easily they are mindful without even trying.
As an adult, it’s almost like we have to retrain our brains into being mindful and yet the sad truth is, we were born with that capability but lose it along the way.
I’ve tried meditation apps on my phone, I’ve read mindfulness books and taken up yoga, but without doubt, the greatest daily reminder for me to live in the present comes whenever I observe Elsie and watch in awe at how alive she is in every single moment.
WORK IS OVER RATED
I love my job and never feel anything but fortunate that I get to work for myself, doing what I love for a living. Yet so often I have found myself become increasingly frustrated when I feel like I don’t have the time to do everything I want to do.
As adults, if you’re a lucky one who adores their job, it’s easy to become sucked into the ‘work, work, work’ mindset. Too easy at times.
But when I look at Elsie playing and having fun, I am forced to recognise the often forgotten truth that there is more to life than work. And it’s a powerful wake up call.
Children spend most of their days at play, and yet, I ask you, when’s the last time you had fun? When’s the last time you did something that wasn’t about work or social status? When was the last time you truly appreciated life?
When I watch Elsie at play, I know she has it totally right. Life is to be enjoyed as much as is physically possible. It is not to work ourselves into oblivion.
WE ARE ALL SPECIAL
At three, nearly going on four, I watch in admiration how at ease Elsie is with moving her body or how comfortable she feels loudly and confidently voicing her needs or opinions.
I love to watch her looking at her own reflection, appreciating her own beauty, always seeing something positive.
My girl may be little and she may be young but she loves herself more than any grown woman I have ever come across.
Elsie doesn’t see flaws or faults. She doesn’t wish she had different hair or longer legs. She doesn’t compare herself unfavourably to anyone else. She doesn’t hide who she is.
Because she understands. She gets it.
She knows that she is special. Loved. Unique.
Small children love themselves so easily, so effortlessly, it’s just wonderful to see. How tragic then, that as adults, we struggle to do the same.
LOVE IS EASY (IT’S ADULTS WHO COMPLICATE THINGS)
When Elsie was born, I felt the most humungous surge of love, the like of which I had never felt before.
My maternal love for her knows no bounds and astonishingly seems to grow daily. Even when I feel like there must surely be no love left to have or give, I am continually proven wrong.
I love her unconditionally and what’s more, it is the easiest, most natural and splendid thing in the world to do. Both mind blowing and terrifying in equal measure.
Likewise Elsie too loves with abandon. She loves who she loves. She cannot be bought or misled. She knows whom she feels good around and who she doesn’t.
She loves many people and never finds it difficult to express her feelings, telling me daily: “I love you SOOOOOOO much Mummy!”
To her also, loving people is easy. She has no expectations, no demands, no conditions.
Her love is free and fierce, given with total sincerity and lack of fear. The most beautiful thing to receive and witness.
Watching her in action, I realise that yes, absolutely, love – in it’s purest, most magnificent form, is easy.
Which makes you wonder why, oh why, do we end up complicating things?…