Missing Teeth and Peanuts

My niece is super polite. And it’s amazing how an overflow of manners and gratitude can really make you feel like someone special. I think feeling special and valued is such a rare feeling these days that one feeds off of the feeling if it’s given. Even if the giver is a 7 year old.
She seriously thanked me for every tiny thing I did that she asked for when I spent an afternoon baby-sitting her. She was hanging out with me in the hours before I was to take her over to her grammy’s for the evening and part of the hangout time required that I give her her evening bath. My niece has this full head of crazy hair that, if wet, can weigh down and make it just a bit hard to clean and shampoo on her own. Hence, she asked that I help her and thanked me immediately after I’d helped her rinse the last of the bubbly suds down the drain.

I write about my niece a lot because I think that kids are the funniest but most accurate window view of humanity. And before inhibition stepped in and created a curtain to this honest view, we all were once kids without holding anything back, flaws and all. I’ve laughed many times over the things my niece has innocently said and many times marveled at her observations of the world around her.

Really, when did we lose this freedom? Sometimes I sit and wonder that, truthfully. Was it around the time I entered kindergarten? How about middle school? High school, even? Wasn’t there such a joy in being able to exercise such an innocent honesty? When something stunk, a kid says “it stunk”. Versus an adult who would hem and haw about the answer and say “it doesn’t smell that bad” when it clearly is a situation that needs a whiff of fresh air. Catch my drift?


There is an incessant longing in me for times of old, when things were a little simpler, people were a little more honest, and the world was viewed a little more accurately. A time of milk and cookies, bright colors that don’t match but were ok anyway, a moment in youth where it was ok to stop and enjoy the sights and smells around you, using the gifts/your sense of smell, sight and touch the Almighty gave you so that you could enjoy what He’s created. Maybe it’ll slow us down a bit, but who said I had to race through life and ignore the God-infused beauty that surrounds me constantly? Sadly and oddly enough, no one told me that. I made that sad decision on my own.

While I can’t reverse time or go back to a season in my life where it was ok to be missing your front teeth and grinning proudly in pictures or be rushed to the doctor’s with my mommy because I jammed a peanut up my nose out of sheer curiosity, I’m thankful to have a 7 year old reminder of fun, innocence, and honesty running around in my life, a kid that makes me feel special and appreciated simply because I helped her shampoo her hair.