I saw you emerge from the barricade of adult legs and hanging pocketbooks; your shiny hair radiating ever so slightly in the summer sun. The sparkling fuchsia flip-flops were only brought to my attention after beholding the delicate warmth of your little smile.
I heard you laugh in a very high octave. An octave that was beautifully reminiscent of an unknowing time in my own life. Your laugh was filled with honesty. It was perfect in its simplicity. Your tiny nose crinkled as you threw your head back in overwhelming splendor.
You are surrounded by love; it is so familiar to you. We become unacquainted with love as we age, not recognizing or acknowledging it nearly enough. But you are a prime example; you are the product of love. You survive on this earth because you are so incredibly loved. This is all you’ve ever known.
I watch you walk hand in hand with your parents, playfully swinging by the force of their strong arms. Your petite hand has only known the loving embrace of your family. You do not know what it is like to hold the hand of another. To interlace your hands with a person who makes your knees weak and your heart sing.
You have only been kissed by the comforting lips of your family. You do not know the sweet kiss of a companion, a best friend. A kiss that soars you to new heights, that makes you feel indestructible. You are so pure. You have not been corrupted by knowledge or wronged by this cruel world. All you know is what it is like to be loved and adored.
You have not known the bitter taste of rejection nor braced the deep injury of heartbreak. You have not seen the aching in your mother’s eyes as she witnesses your fresh, pulsing wound to the heart. You do not know what it is to be loved and then left. You have not been burned, beaten or bruised by the hand of someone who says they love you more than anything in this world.
You have never been brought to tears because you felt unwanted. You have not felt a wave of overpowering sadness as you stare at the face of a person who picked you up and then knocked you down so abruptly. You do not face the terrifying evils of the real world. You have never felt real pain.
I saw you in your beautiful little bubble, laced with innocence and protection. You live a sheltered life, a life where everyone only loves you unconditionally. You live a life of pleasure and playtime. I wish I could freeze you in time, so that you could always have a whole heart. I wish you never had to leave this innocent, joyful place that you exist in.
But you will know the crippling hurt of a severed heart and the painful reality of denial. You will cry yourself to sleep many nights, wishing to relive the perfect memories you have of the closest you’ve ever felt to ecstasy. You will recognize the dark depths to which you’ve fallen and desperately try to claw your way out. You will know how much it stings to hit rock bottom and you will feel stares of empathy from the people who have loved you so passionately since you were merely an idea in their heads.
And after you feel those things and experience such raw agony, you will get up. You will raise yourself up from the shadowed pit that you’ve engulfed yourself in. You will smile again and laugh in delight, much like you do right now.
Your sweet smile brings me to a better place. It jolts me back to glorious memories and a time of unknowing. It brings me back to before this violent storm of tears and this chronic pain in the pit of my stomach. I see you in your world and I am happy again. You help me remember the brilliance in life.
You have a long road ahead of you. It will be magnificent and it will be difficult. People whom you’ve never thought could hurt you will hurt you more than you can imagine. You will not be in a state of perpetual pleasure on this road. Life can be tough, life can be grueling but I swear to you it will all be worth it because above all, life is positively wonderful. You know that now more than ever. Even when life cuts you down and thrashes your heart, please never forget how to feel overcome with happiness just as you do in this exact moment. Because though you might not be aware of it, your innocence and happiness rubs off on everyone who sees you, and remembers what it’s like to be just as carefree, too.