Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sunday was Baby's second birthday party. We planned it for late afternoon so as not to interfere with naps of friends. We left home a bit early and walked there. Baby had a skip to her step. Toddler was a happy camper, along for the ride.
The party was big and boisterous. Thirty-odd kids ranging in age from four months to thirteen years. The majority were somewhere between one and four. There were songs and crafts and temporary tattoos. There was a lot of running and trampoline-jumping and, in the end, ice cream cake.
To be honest, the chaos quotient was high. In many moments, I found myself overwhelmed by the mayhem around me, praying that no one would get hurt. My conversations with fellow parents were predictably fractured; there were kids to chase. But throughout it all, I did my best to focus on one little girl. A creature in navy plaid with a tiny ponytail and consummate smile.
Not once did she get overwhelmed. Her smile stayed the whole time. She ran around singing and twirling, laughing and loving, saying "My birthday!" This amazed me really, her utter lack of self-consciousness, her confidence, her freedom, her frolic. It wasn't an act. It wasn't a game.
She was just being herself.
I watched her then and I think about her now, that ballast of exquisite energy and unmarred joy, and I am at once proud and envious. Proud that she is happy, so happy, and aware that I have played some small role in this. Envious that she is able to do this, to dance so freely, to smile so widely, to live so fully. That she is able to make the most of her little self.
And so. On this Wednesday in October, I take a lesson from my little one. To embrace that childish spirit that still lingers deep within me. To make the most of who I am now. Today. To worry a bit less and live a bit more.
To bounce and smile and celebrate in my own way through this party we call life.
Do you ever learn lessons from the children in your life? Do you remember a time when you were less self-conscious, less worried about everything? Do you agree that, in life, we should focus on making the most of ourselves because that is all we have of us? Is this perhaps easier said than done?