The Wonder of Discovery

August 30, 2010

I finally put my finger on what is so special about being a mom. It's seeing my child discover his world and his abilities.

Every day I place my son on the floor, and he crawls toward the first thing that catches his interest. It may be something he played with the day before, but he wants to check it out again. He claws at it. He waves it. He puts it in his mouth. He pushes it across the carpet. The whole time, I can see his little mind working behind his eyes, trying to grasp the definition and purpose of said object. He pulls himself up to the bottom shelf of my bookcase, and he positively beams at his tiny accomplishment. I push new foods into his mouth, looking for his reaction to an unfamiliar taste. It's a wondrous time.

I believe it's the excitement of discovery that makes life full and worthwhile. It's the source of butterflies when a young couple falls in love. It's the rush I feel when traveling to a new destination. It's why parents take their children to zoos, amusement parks, and space camp. It's why people get such a thrill out of giving and receiving gifts. Experiencing something for the first time is special, but it is even more special to create a first experience for a child, spouse, or friend.

I imagine this is the main reason so many parents struggle with raising disabled children--for them, discovery is limited. Depending on their disability, they may never feel the sense of pride at learning to walk on their own, the thrill of competing with their peers, or the pleasure of falling in love. Having the burden of caring for an especially dependent child minus the reward of seeing him or her develop and discover in normal ways, I imagine, must be crippling for those parents. My heart goes out to them.

Yes, parenthood is still mundane at times. Scrubbing plum stains out of my baby's clothes isn't the most stimulating task. I'm still looking forward to going back to work full-time after I earn my teaching license. But at the moment, watching my little boy learn and grow in these little ways makes the days go by just fine. And I am thankful.

P.S. I hope you like the new blog design. Let me know what you think!

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