For three years Zoë has been changing the atmosphere around her and it was this past year that she took her expression and communication to the next level. One day she was saying only a handful of words and still in diapers and the next she was retelling stories with description and using the bathroom like it was no big deal.
As a parent each of these stages can feel like a lifetime. Patiently being there for a little spirit with the right balance of encouragement, comfort, presence and peace.
We have always sensed that she held a lot inside and processed internally. It wasn't until this year that we were able to truly see how beautiful it all was. Zoë's ability to connect deeply with the world around her goes into a place that humbles me.
She is the spirit that deeply sees.
She is the spirit that deeply hears.
She is the spirit that deeply feels.
I am not sure what this all means as she grows, but what I do know it means in part, is that as parents Jeremy and I are called to be more vigilant with our actions and communication with each other and the world around us.
To model what it means to feel all emotions with acceptance, presence and the knowledge that to live a deep and whole life, one must accept every layer of emotion.
Sometimes, I want to be selfish, have my own pity party and temper tantrum. Believe you and me...there are days that I have a bubbling up of emotions that need to be dealt with and yet that is where she teaches me. Her presence is teaching me that I cannot just let my own emotions and issues bubble over onto her, for that would do more harm than good, but that I seek a healthy and true processing release that allows her to witness these emotions in ways that models to her it is okay.
It is okay to be sad.
It is okay to be confused.
It is okay to be angry.
It is okay to be hurt.
It's how we process them, feel them, act on them and experience them within our lives and project them out to others that matters.
In our home I have put words on a wall, tucked quietly beside a light switch a reminder for us and anyone else who feels deeply.
"We have room for all of your emotions here."
I want that to be true for my daughter as she grows. That her home is her safe place. That her parents are people who feel lot's of things and who are not scared to process and journey through those feelings.
Three years seems like such a short time, but in three years, she has taught me more about how I express myself than any of the twenty-six years before.