When my oldest daughter turned one, I wrote her a letter.
In it, I told her about a day-trip my Mom and I took – just the two of us. We went to go see the musical The Secret Garden at a theater in the city. Because it was a children's story, there were lots of moms and dads with their little kids – all dressed up in fancy clothes and shiny shoes.
And at the end of the row we were sitting in were two little boys. Brothers. Maybe about 6-years-old. They looked like they could be twins. One of the two had special needs and was in a wheelchair.
I noticed his parents were extremely attentive. They watched him very closely as he took a sip of his drink. They helped him with his hearing aid when the music started and seemed a bit too loud.
At one point, near the end of the play, something sort of exciting happened on stage. And when everything went silent, an excited "Wow!" came calling from beside us. Everyone nearby turned to see the little boy, curled into his mom's lap, watching the play intently. We all let out a happy, delighted laugh. Then went back to watching the rest of the play.
But when it ended, I couldn't help but want to look over at him again. So I did. And I saw the little boy smiling. Smiling broadly. His whole body shaking with what I assumed was excitement.
He was so happy.
And I just started crying and crying.
I was crying because I wasn't sure at first how aware he was of everything around him... but he was obviously very aware. And what he saw made him so joyful.
I was crying because his parents brought him there and as he cuddled into their laps, they rubbed the back of his head with his fuzzy, little-boy hair. It was something so small and simple. But it was clear that he was so undeniably loved.
And it made me think of my Anna. My new little baby at the time. It made me think of how undeniable my love was for her. How happy she made me. How, when I thought of everything she had brought into my life, all I felt was complete contentment.
I cried that day for many reasons. For the simple joy a little boy showed. For the love between a parent and a child. For the beauty and the heaviness that comes with raising a child to be adored and self-confident.
I also had hope that day. I hoped that Anna would be happy. That her childhood would be a happy one. That I was doing things right. And, more than anything, I hoped that one day she would be lucky enough to feel like that little boy felt.
To see the world the way he saw it.