We were taking the Metro (subway train) into the city as we often do for a day outing. And this time, for the first time in a long time, it was just Zach and I. No friends, no daddy, just the two of us. I just sat and watched him. And listened.
Normally I tune out the whole ride, a routine zoom through urban blight and littered patches of forgotten woods when we're above ground. Through the eyes of a 4-year old it was something else entirely.
The sewage steeped water that runs next to the tracks was "a mighty river".
The graffiti tags all over buildings were "fancy letters" and "beautiful pictures".
The rusted out railroad cars were "ancient ruins".
The shanty town tents of homeless folks in the woods were "hidden gnome camps".
The dirty escalator taking us down to the platform was "like going into the great pyramids".
Rather than seeing the litter, he noticed every bird. Rather than dwelling on the filth in the Anacostia River, he quacked at the ducks who lived there.
It reminded me that just because he's only had 4 1/2 years on this planet and I have had 36, doesn't mean I always know better. I constantly see grown ups telling little ones what to think, how to be, "training" them to sleep like we do, sit still, be independent, spoon feeding our answers and our points of view. Maybe we're the ones who need some training, we're the ones who could stand to learn a thing or two from these little humans. If we'd only drop our ego, take a breath, and make the time to stop and listen and learn while the world whizzes by.