The Importance in Recognizing the Child Within Us

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The little girl in this photo spun and twirled in her mother’s wedding dress so many times she wore it out; the fabric had no choice, but to wither and fall apart.⠀

She was surprised to learn, after getting glasses in third grade, that the neighbors across the street had flowers in their yard; she’d never been able to see them before.⠀

She cried every time she thought about her grandfather, who died of colon cancer when she was four. (This, by the way, is something she still does.)⠀

She hadn’t yet been conditioned to question or doubt herself, to second guess every thought she’d think, every word she’d like to speak, every wish she’d desire to seek.⠀

She hadn’t yet learned how to mold herself into who she thought she was supposed to be, instead of just allowing herself to be who she really was.⠀

She hadn’t yet experienced cruelty, or learned to internalize it as self-doubt and insecurity. She hadn’t yet felt the need to build up an armor of reserve, an impenetrable wall to protect her from getting hurt.⠀

She was sensitive and cried at everything (including Beauty and the Beast) but hadn’t discovered that it might be something she’d one day have to explain. She just was who she was; there was no other way to be.⠀

Her first real crush was in kindergarten, when the boy she liked “hid” her little red backpack every morning before class. And she pretended, each time, that she had no idea where it was, even though he always put it in the same wide open place.⠀

She was a bossy older sister and always had to be right. But she was also protective. She made her sister walk on the “inside” on their way home from school—because, since she was the oldest, if someone was going to get hit, it was going to be her.⠀

That little girl still lives inside of me. ⠀

I have her. We all do. They’re not always easy to find. It’s easy to forget they exist.⠀

But, we have them inside us, living and breathing—wide-eyed, pure, sweet, honest, kind, splendid little beings—whose only real need is love and tenderness.⠀

I have this child inside me. We all do.