I wish I could experience life through the eyes and heart of my three year old. Last week we rode the train five times in just two days. Most people would cringe at the idea; most posts about public transport in Sydney are long whines about the lateness or cancellation of services, or the weird, anti-social behaviour of fellow commuters. I should know – I’m guilty of writing a few of them.
But when you’re three years old, you’re oblivious to all these things.
Last Thursday and Friday, I caught the peak-hour service into the city with Mr 3, and it was awesome. Each time, he sat up tall in his seat, absorbing as much as possible from everything he could see out the window. On Friday morning, he didn’t even want to eat his breakfast, because it would require him to break his concentration from the trains thundering past in the opposite direction, the dozens of buildings we sped past, the cars we were racing, and the endless jungle of wires and tracks that, to him, represented a never-ending adventure.
“Look Mum, another train!” He’d call out, pointing and giggling like it was the most entertaining thing in the world.
“We’re high up.” He observed, staring down at the rooftops of single-story suburban homes.
“Look at all the trucks!”
“Where are we?”
“What is that?”
“Mum, the sky is so pretty!”
All his wonder and excitement is music to my ears.
Even waiting, according to Mr 3, deserves concentration and reverence. On Thursday, I’d brought lunch for him, but when I offered it to him on the platform, he replied with a very firm, “I just want to wait for the train.”
Oh to have that same sense of keen anticipation for even the simplest things in life… like waiting for the train. How many times have I sat on the platform, or on the phone to customer service, or in line at a store… only to be grumbling and wishing time away. But not for little guy. No, to him, waiting is an experience in and of itself. And he sat on the bench, holding his lunch bag, staring out the tracks ever so patiently.
Something, I’m sure, he got from his father. I sure as hell am not that patient.
When we got off the train at Town Hall Station, he marvelled and called out at the things I walk past almost everyday without ever really appreciating.
“Look Mum! A fountain!”
“Mum! A DOROTHY (the Dinosaur) BAG!”
And when we started walking down a lane to cut through the hustle of Sydney CBD foot traffic, he stopped me and looked up, and said, “Whoa… look at that biiiiig building!”
It was that moment of beautiful, childish awe that made me fall in love with my little boy just that little bit more.
I wonder if he’ll ever know just how grateful I am for the way that he grounds me. For the way he reminds me that there is so much about the world we live in that deserves awe and acknowledgement. That there is much that I take for granted that I shouldn’t. And that even in the everyday business and busy-ness of travel and work, there can be adventure and discovery.
How is it that so much wisdom and wonder can come from such a little person?
I wonder if he’ll stay this way… or if losing our sense of awe just comes with getting older?
I could get annoyed at all his commentary. I can imagine that on days we’re both lacking sleep or I’m feeling particularly high-strung, that I’ll snap at him and he’ll stop talking about the trains, the sky and the bigness of buildings. But I don’t want to be the person that nips his wonder and curiosity before it ever gets a chance to bloom. I want to be the one that encourages it. That nourishes it. That allows myself to be changed by it, instead of me trying to turn it into something controllable and confined.
I want to experience as much as I can — whether it’s train rides, cooking dinner or getting the groceries — through the big, open, eyes and heart of my three year old… life would be much more fun that way.