Life lessons from a 3 year old
Life lessons from a 3 year old
As I sat this evening on the sidelines watching my daughter’s lacrosse game, I was exhausted and looking forward to sitting down, unwinding, and watching the game.Â Quickly, my expectations for an hour of relaxationÂ were dashed when my hungry and thirsty and energetic 3 year old daughter MacyÂ began climbing on me, asking for food, refusing to wear her jacket, and sprinting across the long stretch of grass in the opposite direction.Â I didnâ€™t have the energy to chase her. I didnâ€™t even want to move.Â
I made a fewÂ idle threats like “You need to stay by me or you’ll have to go to the car” as I wondered, “How long do I have to stay and watch the game so my older daughter feelsÂ supported before I can leaveÂ to go home, eat, put my feet up and put this little one to bed?” I was emotionally and physically drained (for a variety of reasons and I will spare you the details).
As I was planning my exit strategyÂ IÂ noticed Macy,Â with her fair skin, yellow pigtails, and no jacket grinning with delight as she ran. HerÂ boundless energy stirredÂ a twinge of jealousy in me, as if somehow her glee was a threat.
Feeling a bit winded Macy sat downÂ on my lapÂ me and noticed that the family sitting next to usÂ had fruit snacks. She asked if she could have one and theyÂ gladly shared.Â Macy danced and made silly faces while eating it.Â I thought to myself, “I wish I could be so joyful aboutÂ small things.”Â
AsÂ she savored her fruit snack I noticed her slowly moving toward the little girl sitting next to us, tryingÂ to get her attention.Â Within a few minutesÂ Macy had made a new friend and was nestled up in the same chair while the older girl read a book to her.
Over the next 45 minutesÂ these two littleÂ girlsÂ chased each other, rolled around in the grass, and made a tent with the blanket and chairs, and pretended they were puppies. I marveled at how openÂ Macy was to reaching out and connecting to this girl without fear, and how easily delighted she was by the attention and the playful interaction. It dawned on me that the game was almost over.
During the final few minutes of the game I realized that whileÂ Macy was frolicking with her new friend,Â I had been sitting by this little girl’s momÂ and we hadn’tÂ exchangedÂ more than a fewÂ words. Taking the lead from my 3 year old, I turned to this lovely womanÂ and introduced myself, and began to askÂ about her andÂ her family. As the finalÂ whistle blew, we continued chatting and gathered our chairs and blankets, and mentioned that weâ€™ll likely be seeing a lot more of each other throughout the season. As we walked to the parking lot I felt energized, thanks to my 3 year old.
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.