In eighteen months I’ve learned more about life from my niece than I have from adults in the twenty-six years I have been alive. This is nothing against the adults in my life, it’s just the simple truth: children are the best teachers. Let me explain…
On Saturday, I helped my niece put on her pink running shoes, jean jacket, and GAP baseball cap. She took my hand in hers and tugged me to the park near my parents’ house. When we arrived, she climbed the jungle gym with confidence and slid down the yellow germ-filled slide with wonder in her eyes. I slid down the slide beside her and for the first time in years I remembered what it felt like to have the purest form of fun. The fresh air in my face, the warm sun on my back, and my niece’s giddy laughter made me forget the world, my phone, and the time.
After the slide she ran over to the swing and yelled “HIGH! HIGH!” — being the great aunt that I am, I obliged and pushed her on the swing for over an hour. She sat there smiling, thinking thoughts I wish I could hear. Time slowed down and I felt completely relaxed. In that hour or so that I spent at the park with my niece, she taught me to live, to play, and to enjoy every moment. To reach higher, to laugh when I leave the ground, to let fear fall in the face of adventure, and to love unconditionally; without question.
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry