HEART KINDLING

Little things that feed the flame

Three Years Old

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Hello and sorry for the long silence. It was not supposed to rule this page for two solid months. First, there was sickness. Followed by visitors, then lots of work followed by more visitors and then straight onto a two-week holiday at home with my family and a third birthday to organize and celebrate soon after we got back. Phew… Life just grabbed and pulled me into this crazy vortex of all things happening at once leaving me with no chance to catch my breath. Most of it was great fun, but I am only just starting to come back to my senses. And, although I knew well ahead about some of these events and intended to blog through them, that – as you can easily see – did not happen.

So, my little sparrow of a daughter is three years old. It simultaneously feels like it should be less and more. Less because surely she could not be three – she was a baby only yesterday. When did she start using the big toilet and acquire her own friends to come to the birthday party? Yet, three years is also such a short time. Our life without her seems like a very very distant memory, certainly older than three years…

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It is said that the first year of human life is the one of the most profound change. Never again does our body grow and develop so quickly, never again do we master new skills and grow in our understanding of the surrounding world at such a fast pace as in those first 12 months. However, this third year of her life was when the change in my daughter’s life struck me most. Kept striking and catching me off guard all the time. It is true, the first smile, holding the head, rolling over, sitting or standing up are big achievements and provide the parents with immense pleasure. Yet, they are somehow expected, ‘supposed to be’ if the child is healthy. What kept surprising me in this last year, especially the latter half of it, was the speed and beauty of the unravelling of our daughter’s personality. It is as if with the most vital and essential physical milestones ticked off, the little Sparrow could now sigh with relief and relax into discovering and revealing the person within. In the recent months, we got to know a little girl fascinated by cars, trains, buses, boats, and planes, a girl who is not very gifted with patience, but has discovered the door to imaginary worlds where she is free to make up her own company and the games they play. We have witnessed the emergence of a child who at times is adamant to do things herself and rejects any assistance offered, but then is still in absolute need of a  on a parent’s lap or to have her hand held while falling asleep. Like a plane increasingly gathering speed for take off, this daughter of ours has been learning new words in bucketloads and thrusting them back in fully formed sentences, expressing time sequences (“First, we play shops, and THEN we go inside!”) as well as her desires and dislikes. Sometimes – very often indeed – I feel flabbergasted by the speed and beauty of it all much more than her sitting up or taking those cute wobbly steps.

I do not remember my own third birthday. What I know of it is from the stories I was told and the photographs I have seen. The story goes that I was running around and telling everybody that I was already three! I must have felt so big 🙂 Nearly thirty years have passed since… I sometimes wonder about my parents. What were they thinking? How much of me had they gotten to know by then? What were their hopes for their firstborn and their family? How many of them came true? How many were smudged away as time inevitably swept by?

As I look at my own three-year-old girl, there is so much space for possibility! She is only just beginning to unwrap the present of her self. Whatever we are going to discover over the years to come, my biggest wish and hope is to be able to provide her with freedom and support so that she can honestly know herself, believe in herself, and nurture the person she choses to be. I am very much looking forward to the years ahead of us.

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