When I see the world through the eyes of my child, it is an infinitely more beautiful, simpler place. The look of pure joy on his face as he runs out to our porch to see the plane he hears flying overhead, the excitement of watching trains go by, the pleasure of seeing so many cars on the road. His world consists of his family, his friends and his favorite television characters, and it is a happy little world indeed. A world where he is the center, a world filled with love, laughter, tractors and trucks, and a perfect day includes all of these things.
The innocence of my toddler is precious, and I sometimes long for a similar innocence. I am tired of the wars, the politics, the hate. I am world-weary, saddened by the news of more death and dying, whether it be victims of war and terror, the friend of my father’s whose life was cut short by cancer, or the woman I grew up with who, at age 38, is in advanced stages of ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I am saddened to hear about a former classmate who will never see 38, a woman whose doctor did not believe that such a young woman could have breast cancer. It is all so senseless and so frustrating. I am angered by stories such as this one, angry at these young Israeli soldiers who use their powers to hurt the innocent, simply because they know they can. I am tired of hate for hate’s sake, tired of senseless anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, tired of people hating me for my outer “labels”, without bothering to find out who I am on the inside (though admittedly, I’m sure there are people not too keen on the real me either…).
Sometimes I don’t like this adult world, a world where priorities are screwed up, where money is power and we forget what is truly important. A world that frequently rewards those least deserving, and often shits on the rest. I had breakfast ruined for me one morning last week by an individual who believes that he, as an engineer, is worth more than one who works as a cleaner for a living, and that there is nothing wrong with the fact that the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, with no end to this gap in sight. He said that people who are earning less than minimum wage aren’t really working, so they essentially deserve what they’re getting, as does he, an educated (!) man who claims to work hard for his (I’m guessing high) salary. I was shocked and disgusted by his attitude, and left pretty quickly, having lost my appetite during the opening moments of his rant.
I envy my son his innocence, and I marvel at all he does not yet know about the world outside his door. I imagine a world where the worst things that can happen are not getting another cookie or having a toy taken away, and where both are soon forgotten by Mommy holding him close, stroking his hair while whispering softly into his ear. I feel his excitement over identifying members of the animal kingdom wherever they might appear, whether in books, on television or somewhere outside. It doesn’t take much to make him happy, and his laughter brings me great joy. He knows nothing of betrayal or abuse, murder, death or mayhem. He is happily unaware of political wheeling and dealing, nor does he know what a terrorist is. There is no pain that his parents cannot make disappear, and money means nothing.
Granted, there are some good things about the world of grown-ups, but sometimes I yearn for the times when all I needed was a warm embrace or a piece of cake to take my problems away, the times when seeing planes, trains and automobiles were all it took to make me happy.