Looking down at her, I can't help but smile at how short she is, her head completely covered from my view by her floral brimmed hat. She's focussed on the ground beneath her, and her little shoes go crunch, crunch, crunch as she strolls along.
As we walk she is constantly chatting, and the conversation goes a little like this:
Mia: Mummy 'tay?
Me: Yes I'm ok darling, thank you. Are you okay?
Mia: Yeah......Daddy 'tay?
Me: Yep, Daddy's okay.
(she then proceeds to ask me if her aunties/uncles/grandparents/our dogs etc. are ok, it goes on for a while....)
Me: Yes, we're walking. We're walking to the playground!
Mia: Yeaaaahhhh! Mummy's shoes? (points to my shoes)
Me: Yep, these are Mummy's shoes. Where are Mia's shoes?
(she points to her own shoes)
Me: That's right!
(a fly buzzes across our path...)
Mia: Fwai! (pronounced like "fly" but with a "w" instead of the "l")
Me: Yeah, look at the fly!
Mia: Bye fwai! (she waves in the general direction that the fly went off in)
A little further on, I spot a little butterfly resting to the side of the footpath. I point it out to her, and have to hold her back a little as she lunges towards the butterfly. I thought she might step on it or try to pick it up, but actually all she wants to do is get close to it and kneel down so she can take a closer look. "But-fwai!" she announces. When I suggest we keep walking, she waves and says "Bye but-fwai!" with all the cheer and friendliness in the world.
Today's little adventure, while being extremely cute, probably doesn't sound like some incredible mind-blowing experience, but to me it takes my breath away simply because of the innocence of it all. Lately I've been marvelling at the innocence of not only Mia but also her other similar-aged little friends. The innocence of children is really a wonderful, grounding, and sometimes tear-jerking thing to witness.
I'm very aware that Mia is growing up fast and moments like these need to be savoured (which they certainly are!). Her innocence is such a beautiful thing to behold, it makes me sad to think that there will inevitably be experiences in her very near future which will slowly kill off this innocence and wonder, as she learns more and more about this world and the people in it and turns into a girl, and then a woman (I know, that's a while off yet! But I've always been a "forward-planner"). And I've been wondering at what point do children lose their innocence? What events happen that bring it about, or does it stem more from observing over time the lives of adults and the way we live, work, speak, and play, and just following suit? Is it a transition that can be seen?
I know that the "growing up" will come and I'll have to learn not to shield her from certain things and to let her learn for herself. I just think it's going to be sad to watch as Mia gradually realises, one at a time, that things aren't as innocent and simple as she once thought they were. But maybe if we continue to read stories, look for beauty all around us, and occasionally stop to "smell the roses", we can keep a small sense of innocence and wonder about us.
Joining in with FYBF at Where's My Glow?