My Son the Philosopher: How My One-Year-Old Schooled Me On Life

In the days leading up to Little Man’s first birthday, I was feeling increasingly like a failure. “Mom fail” after mom fail, as they’re now known, seemed to be the only items on my list of achievements. I had nothing planned until the night before his birthday party, and we didn’t buy a gift until the morning of. (Son, years from now if this website is still around and you find yourself reading this, I hope you can forgive your mama.) 

Sometimes, and this may come as a real surprise (insert_sarcasm_here), I tend to shut down in the face of events I am not mentally prepared to deal with. This last week, I shut down. Little Man is my baby. My last child. I didn’t want him to be having a birthday already. Where has the last year gone? While I’m thankful he’s no longer peeing into the air every time I change his diaper (no seriously – so thankful), I still struggle to believe so much time has passed since those days. In that realization, the weight of time passing by no matter how hard I will against it, was too much for me to carry. I had to set that burden down, but I’ll be daggummed if I wasn’t kicking my toes against it all weekend long.

My Son the Philosopher-

The family arrived from out of town, the guests appeared at our door, and I was so thankful Little Man got to be adored and doted on for several hours. He was absolutely the most charming birthday boy I’ve ever encountered, and I’m especially grateful he got to show his stuff to a larger audience. I’m convinced the kid loves me as his mama, but he’s got to think I’m old hat by now. He was thrilled to entertain new faces and have every eye fixed on him. He didn’t miss any opportunities to show himself off, and he melted my heart moment after moment all weekend long.

We were running constantly – entertaining guests, cooking, doing last minute party-prep – it was a busy weekend. And it wasn’t until this morning that I was able to let everything catch up to me. My baby is one. He sat in the living room, pushing all kinds of buttons on new toys, taking to himself and anyone who would listen, and I felt a tear trickle down my cheek.

I don’t often feel this way, but for that moment, I envied my son and I wanted to be him. I was flooded with a new perspective, and in seeing the world through his eyes, I suddenly became completely schooled in life by my toothless, slobbery son.

He coos and squalls with the most poignant thoughts and declarations, I’m sure – if only I could understand what they meant. In the meantime, though, I like to listen to his incessant babble, as it is a definite response to the unadulterated joy he feels throughout the day. He is entertained by the simplest of objects, and his favorite thing is to take a break from the mundane and have a wrestling match. I’ll admit, those wrestling matches do me as much good as they do him. Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing, and roll around on the floor. Find joy in the simple.

His curiosity is insatiable. He touches, prods, and investigates everything. He can’t decipher whether something is interesting to him unless he can put it in his mouth – which is a not something I long to emulate. Nothing seems to escape his attention, however, and he notices absolutely everything. Even now, at the ripe young age of one, he is incredibly in tune with his surroundings, and soaking up every possible morsel of information. Sometimes the best way to figure something out is to take the time to sit and tool with it a while. And by George, take the time to be interested enough in something to figure it out. Focus is a lost art. Don’t ever stop exploring.

The most important lesson my one year old taught me? Even the best things in life are only worthwhile for only a moment. There is no need to cling to anything other than the joy you have in this very moment. Everything should be held with an open hand, to come and go as it may, because when it’s time to move on, you won’t have time to be burdened by the weight of anything else. Surroundings are changing, relationships are changing, and diapers are changing. All the time. Holding on to one thing too tightly means you don’t have the flexibility to take hold of the next opportunity that comes along. Besides that, most of what you cling to is going to be lying around waiting for you later. You just have to trust enough to let it go in the first place. Give yourself freedom to be free.

Of course he’s also taught me that it’s okay to cry when you feel like it, and that’s a truth he also lives by example.  Cry it out. Because…well…sometimes a mama needs to know it’s her son’s party, and she can cry if she wants to.

Son, I’m so blessed to have you in our lives, I’m so honored to be your mama, and I’m so thankful for all you’re teaching me just by being you. Happy birthday, Little Man.