It’s secretly a parent’s favorite thing to do.
The kids are playing, it’s awfully quiet, and instead of taking a moment to relax – by yourself – upstairs, you decide to venture downstairs to see what mischief they might be getting into.
Like a burglar in the dark, you creep your way towards the room hoping to catch them red-handed, either drawing on the wall, or destroying their brother’s LEGO set, built the night before.
Instead what you witness causes an immediate glow to your face. What you expected to be a scowl, has turned into a huge grin. You try to hold back your laughter as you watch your child playing toys, engulfed in their own imaginary world or Stormtroopers, Hot Wheels, ninja turtles, or whatever Barbie’s do.
The moment unfortunately doesn’t last too long before they look over their shoulder, yell “STOP!” or “HEY!” and usually come out you with said-toy.
But it’s this moment, often hard to catch on video (though I’ve managed a few times but for a matter of seconds) that brings me great, great joy.
I’ve tried to figure out how to capture these moments. You can’t videotape everything (though some people try to), but you want to remember all of these times your face was lit up. You want to be able to look back 10, 20 or even 40 years from now and laugh about those innocent times, before they were teenagers, young adults, dare I say, parents.
My blog has always been about sharing our stories with ourselves (and whomever else that travels alongside of us) – a so-called history book for The Johnson Five.
With Lia’s sixth birthday today, I tried to figure out how to “celebrate” her in words. Last year I wrote about the song “Cinderella” and how it will forever remind me of my daughter, and in the past I’ve written about five things I’ve liked about her, and the day she was born.
This year I thought I’d write six ways Lia puts a smile on my face, without her knowing she’s putting a smile on my face.
Note: These aren’t the only six ways, there are probably six hundred ways, but since she’s turning six, so I’m writing six. Here are the six:
Allowing Me To Let It Go:
I’ve had a stressful last few months. Frustrated with everything life was throwing at me, I needed something that allowed my mind to get away, or should I say, allowed myself to “Let It Go”. If I’m feeling down and out, and need a quick pick me up, this video will do that for me every time, all the time.
Up, Up and Away!
There’s just an innocence with watching a lone person on a swing set swaying back and forth, back and forth, wind in their hair, smile on their face, their feet kicking in and out. Lia loves to get on a swing set and go, and go, and go. She’ll swing for chunks of time, and I’ll be watching from inside the house, peeking from a corner of a window, watching her, realizing that right now she’s free, she’s innocent, she’s content, she knows nothing about what lies ahead of her in life. It’s free, and makes me relaxed.
This one might sound silly, but for me there is something so special, and that makes me light up, when Lia talks. I know, I know, I’m probably over-exaggerating a bit, or maybe bragging a bit, but she has a gift of language that I haven’t found in another (now) 6-year-old. I used the word “algorithm” as an example, because the other night Lukas had trouble saying this not-that-easy word. I turned to Lia and said “algorithm”. She repeated it exactly as its enunciated – and then again, and then again. She has always been quick to enunciate words properly, words that she shouldn’t be able to enunciate. Even when she speaks Portuguese her dialect is perfect. Unlike Lukas, who has that Gringo dialect, she enunciates every Portuguese word the correct way. I wish I could say she got that from me, but her mother was a quick learner when it came to learning the English language, and even now people are amazed that English is not Lis’ native language, as she has just a hint of an accent, unless she’s ticked or excited, then we know we’re in trouble – or doing something right. 😉
I’m On a Bike Yo!
She learned to ride a bike when she was 4-years old, though it seemed like it took forever because of her fear of taking off the training wheels. Then we took the training wheels off and ZOOM! She hasn’t stopped yet! She’s had no fear on a bike, peddling and cruising, weaving in and out of other bike riders. She’s never had a fall, and even recently, when she was on her new 7-speed, zig-zagging on the trail near our house she remained in control. This after her bike tire got caught in the gravel, she swerved to cut it loose, but held on to her handlebars, taking control of her bike, her butt bouncing on her back tire, slowing her down so she wouldn’t crash. Once she was okay, we all had a nice laugh, as Lia jumped off the bike crying, “I’m okay! I’m okay!” But the fact she had control of her bike the entire time was impressive.
The Imaginary World of Lia
As mentioned in the intro, there is something so peaceful, and innocent, when you’re watching kids play by themselves. I’m sure my mom felt the same way when I was playing baseball in the backyard with my league full of imaginary baseball players. Okay, so she thought I was crazy, but whatever. I can relate when Lia is outside singing and talking with her friends.
She’s Funny … and Not Just for a Girl
I’m not going to list one-liners she’s said around the dinner table, mostly because I don’t remember them. Since she was little she always had a witty sense of humor, the kind that combined with cuteness, could end up being a dangerous competition as she gets into young adulthood. It’s hard to sit still at the table, or when we’re playing UNO, when she’s reeling off jokes. What I love most is that she makes her older brother laugh, the one that usually annoys her (and vice versa). Lukas has an infectious laugh, and it often ends in tears, so seeing her make him fall over in his chair, brings great joy to a dad that often has to peel her slapping hands away from him.
That’s it! Six simple things that Lia does, that she doesn’t know she does, that makes me smile!
Happy Birthday Princess Lia!