Being a person with a sensitive disposition in this scary world we live in can be a little overwhelming at times. I tend to see the glass half-full on most days, but I am also deeply impacted by the troubling things I see around me and in the news. I am even known to get a little emotional by stories of loss and triumph, or overcoming hardship. I cheer for the underdog, then cry when he wins! So even though I try to keep things in perspective, my mind can sometimes become clouded by emotion. But the hero of this story is my daughter, because apparently at the age of 5, my little Sugar Plum has life all figured out. I’m convinced that she is an old soul, and that one of her purposes in this world is to help me see things through the lens of innocence.
In my youth, before life events made me jaded, I worked at a 50’s themed fast-food restaurant called Lick’s, where part of the job description involved singing and smiling. Which was a perfect fit for me because I was a pretty bubbly person, so I got right into singing songs about french fries, and if I ever showed up to work in a bad mood, my mood would shift after faking a smile for the customers and I would leave humming a tune. Smiles are contagious right? But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. I began to feel the weight of tragedies in my life and in the world, and I forgot to smile like I used to. But Plum still sees only wonder in the world. If she’s not singing, she’s humming. Its like a Disney musical in our house, she literally speaks in song. I feel like I’m back at my old job, but we aren’t singing about french fries anymore, we’re singing about brushing our teeth or which pretty skirt to wear. Because everything is a celebration to her, and even the simplest things bring her joy.
And except for rare moments of rebellion, she is constantly smiling! When I look into her beautiful grinning face, my worries melt away and my life becomes one big, wonderful song.
Even in our darkest days, it was Plum who showed me the meaning of love and compassion. My world was shaken to its core when my mom lost her courageous fight against cancer in the fall of 2013. My grief was indescribable, and there were times when I did not attempt to hide my tears. I felt terrible about it, because my family was grieving for her too, and I thought I should have had the strength and composure to answer the hard questions for my kids and be there for them. But it was the other way around. The level of compassion Plum shows towards others is greater than most adults I know. She is the first to run for help if someone is hurt, and the first to comfort if someone is sad. So as always, she would ask me why I was crying.
“I miss Nana” I would say to her. And she would bring me a box of Kleenex and hold me. Sometimes she would sing me a song. But her quiet comfort and look of solemn understanding moved me in such a profound way that I was able to find hope again. I’m still not sure what I believe about what the meaning of life is, and I don’t have all the answers. But I’m pretty sure I will find my way. With a little help from the wisdom of children.