As I enjoyed a sidewalk lunch this week, I noticed several sets of parents with their children. The coming and going of adult feet taking long strides mixed with the pitter-pat of tiny sneakers trying to keep up.
At the table nearest mine, a young man of about three years had just polished off a sugar-laden milkshake (complete with a three-year-old-sized burp for effect). As I laughed a barely-contained laugh, I silently wished his mom the best of luck at nap-time. This kid would be pinging off the walls for hours!
Just then a plane flew overhead. The boy, as well as several others kids in the parking lot, looked up and smiled as they waved, laughed and pointed.
The adults never looked up.
Just then a motorcyle rumbled past, toward the exit.
The little boy said “Vrooom, vroom…mo’cycle!”
An adult commented: “That moron should be wearing a helmet”.
Just then two young girls, presumably sisters, approached. They were paired in matching shirts that said “Smile”. As they passed the little boy, they waved and both exclaimed “hi”. The little boy waved and, with a shy smile, looked away (then right back).
The adults didn’t seem to notice, as they chattered along in their own conversation.
Several minutes later, as the mother and two girls made their way back out of the cafe, I commented on their matching “smile” shirts, and how nice it was to see them say hello to the little boy. Their mom seemed genuinely appreciative that I had noticed.
As we spoke, a puppy (with its new owner) approached. The kids all made their way, giggling, to see this wonderful creature. The dog, being a child himself, played right along with them.
The only comment I heard from an adult was (with a slight frown): “We had a dog like that once…peed all over the rug for the first three months.”
As I wrapped up my lunch, I pondered these questions:
Where did our sense of wonder go?
Did it evaporate into thin air as we grew older and knew the hidden secret behind everything?
Has it been stomped down by the ‘reality’ we have come to accept as truth?
Can we ever hope to get it back?
As I walked to my car, another plane flew overhead. With a smile, I stopped, shaded my eyes slightly from the sun, and watched as it descended to the nearby airport.
Pretty cool moment, I thought, as I heard the excited “Airpane, airpane” from my little friends on the sidewalk.
Wonder is a wonderful thing.