There are so many things I want for her. Things I want her to see. Things I want her to experience. Things I want her to know through all five senses and more.
Then I realize the takeaway. I need to remove my wants from the situation. And, in turn, the gift is this: I will get to see and experience the world through her eyes. The constant “ooohs” and “ahhhs” that never cease to make me smile as we are both filled with wonder and enjoyment and even a bit of fantasy.
Plus, the world I want to show her doesn’t exist anymore, except in a memory. A memory of years past that even my own mind has clouded with grandeur through the rose-colored glasses of childhood excitement.
The tree I used to climb. I remember when my feet couldn’t touch the ground and I had to jump — it seemed so high! I’m sure that limb is safely at my waist these days. But oh, the smile she will feel at the accomplishment of trying. A maker of her own memories and sense of pride.
The feeling of pulling into Coney Island from the B train, and being at the height of it all. Matched only by peering out the window, thinking it’s so close you could touch it. Until you stand below the Cyclone and think, “Am I really going to get on this thing? Hmm. Let’s just go to Nathan’s instead.” That even though the boardwalk has changed, the literal sands of time still stand (though much cleaner than in my youth). I am thankful for that part.
To stand on the Brooklyn Bridge, then to walk below it and have the East River feel so, so, so big. The vast and ever-changing skyline of enormous buildings that reach into the heavens. A changed skyline that now has another connection with heaven. To look at the river and wonder if you could swim across it, how big it really is, and all that lies beneath.
But these are my memories. My curiosities. These just some of my wants and hopes and dreams for her. And I’m taking the time to realize, these are mine for her — and not hers for her.
But watching her reminds me that as she opens her eyes each morning to explore with wonder and excitement, it is a new day ahead. And it is so much more exciting to experience the new, all over again, yet through her eyes for the first time.