I have previously written columns about two of my grandsons, Jonathon and Brady. Those two have taught me many things about myself, about life and about the future. I have a third grandson, Cole. Cole is still a baby, 9 months old, but I am already learning some special lessons from him.
Cole is just starting to show some of his personality, and I look forward to him developing in the months and years to come. The thing that he, as a baby, is teaching me, is to observe and listen.
As a newborn, he had pretty basic needs — food, love and a dry diaper. But, now, as he becomes more aware, it is wonderful to watch the world through his eyes.
If I am holding Cole these days, his head is constantly moving. He sees and is enthralled by everything. If he sees a tiny piece of paper on the floor, he can spend 10 minutes trying to pick up that little piece of paper and then another 10 minutes feeling the texture and trying to see what he can do with it.
A computer cord lays along the floor next to the couch at my house. He will work diligently to put his small face and tiny hand through a small opening just so he can touch and taste that cord. Of course, his efforts are to no avail as he would chew on that cord with his two little teeth and neither he nor the cord would be better for that tactile investigation. Grandma stops him before he gets that far. But, I do have to say, I enjoy watching his efforts.
The thing that I notice the most with Cole is that he is constantly looking up or looking down. I try to follow his gaze up and see just what it is that he is looking at. It could be the sunlight shining on the wall, the blades of the ceiling fan or the stripes in the curtains. Sometimes it is hard to be sure. He is thrilled with the images on my IPad screen, especially the bright colors and the pictures of he and his other family members. His observations are never ending.
If I feed Cole his lunch or dinner, his head is on a swivel. He watches every movement of other people around and twists and turns at every noise. Oh, he wants to eat, don’t be fooled, but hitting his mouth is like chasing a moth.
Carrying Cole anywhere these days is a new experience. As you carry him, he is leaning over your arm looking at whatever is on the ground or the floor. He sees the cracks in the sidewalks, the blades of grass, the gravel in the driveway and everything else. His family all asks him what he is looking at. As of yet, he doesn’t respond.
What is he seeing? He is seeing the world, the world through the eyes of a 9 month old. A world that, to him, is all shiny and new — a world that is full of wonder. I watch him, and I think to myself that I want to look at the world like he does. I want to look at everything as if it is the first time.
I’m not sure that I can go back to looking at the world as Cole does. I think I am too “mature,” but I can try my best to enjoy the world around me just a little more. I am trying to look at the simple things and actually see them.
For example, I recently walked up the granite front steps of the Bureau County Courthouse. The leaves had fallen and stacked up on those sparkly steps were leaves representing every color of autumn. They were beautiful, laying there before they were all trampled by those coming and going. I wished, at that moment, that I was an accomplished photographer. I would have taken a picture of those leaves, so I could always remember them.
I stood at the window in the front of my house and watched the first snowflakes of November fly. You know, those snowflakes are amazing. Just as amazing, when I stop to look, as I felt they were when I was a child. I held Cole, and we watched those snowflakes together — it helped me to see the wonder in them as I did my best to look at them through his eyes.
I listened to the joy in my daughter’s voice and watched the happiness on her face as she talked to me about the house into which she and her family will soon be moving. She is so pleased that they will all be enjoying more indoor space and more outdoor space too. It was special to share that with her and take the time to listen and see that excitement.
I thank Cole for helping me remember to observe and enjoy the simple things. I am trying, each day, Cole, to look at everything with the same wonder that you do. I hope I can continue to do that, that I can remember, as is said on one of the daytime talk shows, “Take time to enjoy the view.”
Nita Wyatt of Wyanet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.