Donna Smaldone
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Monday / June 25 / 2012

3 things you can learn by taking the hand of a toddler

Silhouettes on a sidewalk (left-to-right: my daughter Brittany, her lil cherub Brody Jo (22 months), and me) June 2012
Silhouettes on a sidewalk (left-to-right: my daughter Brittany, her lil cherub Brody Jo (22 months), and me) June 2012

Silhouettes on a sidewalk spelled L-O-V-E that glorious Adirondacks day, reminding me of the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order (1181-1226), who said, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

If necessaryuse words. I love that.

Adopting this approach, my daughter and I indulged in a middle-of-the-work-week treat by lazily strolling around the neighborhood with our sweet Brody Joseph adorning us.

My Sweet Pea takes everything in. His whole face smiles when someone he loves walks into the room. He carries on conversations with everyone he encounters and passes judgement on no one. I have so much to learn from my grandson.

With persistency, Brody exuberantly shared story after story on our walk, occasionally using a word we understood. Not quite what Saint Francis of Assisi had in mind, but I assure you Brody was communicating strongly through his actions and behavior. He was living in the moment with deliberate purpose and joy. How refreshing.

You can learn so many things by taking the hand of a toddler. Here are three…

#one:  IT MATTERS NOT WHERE WE’RE GOING AS LONG AS “YOU” ARE THERE. Brody had no idea where we were headed or what we would do when we got there. He was simply elated with the response he got to his puppy-dog-eyes-asks (to the tune of 50 or 60 times) of, “Outside!? Outside!?” — his favorite place to be. At not-yet-two, he seems to already grasp that “home” is not sticks and bricks. Home, Home Sweet Home is wherever ‘you’ are. In this case: his Mommy and Grammy.

#two:  EVERY MOMENT IS AN ADVENTURE. As Brittany and I breathed in the fresh summer air, Brody swung our arms like a wild monkey. Fortunately his arms are much shorter than ours so the workout fell primarily on him. He was so happy to be alive it was contagious. We’d offer occasional bursts of the ever-popular Swinging Between The Grown-Ups, always preceded, of course, with our fused, “OneTwoTHREE!” Without question, he would buy the big red ball.

#three:  TRUST THOSE WHO LOVE YOU FOR YOU. Those who want you to evolve into the best “you” you can be, are the ones who love you for you and NOT for what they may be able to gain from you. Like Brody, trust them enough to lead the way. Trust them to catch you when you trip along the way (and it IS a “when”, not an “if”). Certainly, you may be looking ahead — but more than likely you’re looking over your shoulder, or at that odd-looking tree, or how cool the silhouettes look on the pavement — OR you’re fumbling for your  iPhone camera so you can take a picture of exactly how cool your silhouettes look on the pavement…

Guilty! I couldn’t help but capture the moment. There we were, sharing a mutual appreciation for life, unified so tangibly with intertwined arms across the pavement. A moment I didn’t want to forget.

On that leisurely treat of a stroll, my 22-month-old grandson Brody communicated love, affection, security, and joy… using words when necessary.

4 responses to “3 things you can learn by taking the hand of a toddler”

  1. Sue Mills says:

    Donna, that was a beautiful story, the enjoyment in your heart seems to radiate all over. love, Sue Mills

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, sweet Sue. And thank you for reading. You know how I love to paint a picture. Love you!

      Love,
      Donna

  2. Carol Torresson says:

    This is so indicative of how much we might miss out on always living in the “grown-up” world. I am always amazed at how frequently and with how much enthusiasm my 5-year old daughter will light-up, squeal, and jump up and down. We would all be better off if we make sure to have at least one moment per day that is our “squeal and jump up and down” moment!! Enjoy all of those Brody moments!!
    XOXO
    Carol

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Yes, my Soul Sistah! We DO need more “squeal and jump up and down” moments! I am IN!!

      Love,
      Donna
      xo

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