She stands in the middle of the room dancing and spinning around in her blue sequined princess dress and the headdress and wings of a—woodpecker. It’s an amusing exhibition of confidence, creativity, and joy. A magical, spontaneous moment offered to the world from the heart of a 5-year-old girl.
This beautiful little soul lives in the moment and finds miracles everywhere she goes. Her pockets are filled with the bits and pieces of life she calls her treasures: tiny glistening rocks, a colorful leaf, shells, feathers, twigs, and flower petals.
A butterfly that lands on her little hand becomes an enchanted fairy with magical powers. A lost tooth brings an opportunity for magic to visit during Dreamtime.
She greets the day with messy hair and a smile, anxious to discover more of the world that surrounds her. She is outspoken, shy, theatrical, funny, artistic, boisterous, quiet, kind, and oh so loving! She is my granddaughter, and she is teaching me how to live again.
We go to the park, and on the way we pick a bouquet of wildflowers. Sometimes she wants to pick the pretty ones in a garden. I gently remind her that they belong to someone who planted them to see their beauty every day, so we should not take them. She understands and we move on.
She teaches me to stop and appreciate the obscure little flowers by the side of the road, and I teach her how to blow on a dandelion to make a wish.
We bring out the crayons, markers, paint, and paper and let our creativity pour out. She draws and paints hearts—lots of them; each one a masterpiece. I paint butterflies and landscapes but no masterpieces.
She teaches me that no two hearts are the same, and I teach her that love is all that matters.
One morning she presents me with a map she drew telling me that we are going on a treasure hunt through the village to one of her favorite stores. What an imagination. Did I mention she is only five?
It’s a beautiful, sunny day so we set off with our purses and our map. We are looking for specific symbols that will tell us if we are headed in the right direction. Since the first clue is a circle, we of course find them everywhere.
Her treasure map does indeed bring us to the store in question where she selects and pays for three small items with the few dollars she had in her little purse—a pen, an eraser, and a tiny notebook with a unicorn on the cover. Mission accomplished.
She teaches me that you can go anywhere if you know where you are going, and I teach her that there is always an ice cream shop somewhere on the map.
I have found that as adults, we lose touch with spontaneous, joyous moments, as well as the miraculous. We smile less and worry more. We look for things to do, instead of ways to be. We forget the past and fear the future.
Although she has never heard of him, my girl in the blue sequin dress has revealed to me what author and philosopher Albert Camus wrote many years ago: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”
The lesson is this: if you find yourself blind to the beauty that surrounds you or numb to the joy that can be found in the everyday, find someone who can help you retrieve the child within to discover once again the best that life has to offer.
As my granddaughter reminds me, “Gigi, what’s taking you so long? Come on, I’m waiting for you!”
May you experience your own invincible summer this year!