Please forgive the semi-disturbing photo, but last Saturday I got to watch something special—a two-year-old’s lack of inhibition.
We were visiting a rinky-dink lake about an hour from our home when two kids walked up to us to show off their catch. My boys were intrigued by the huge fish, but while one of them was willing to give the fish a couple of curious pokes, the other grabbed that big guy with both hands, hefted it up, looked his daddy straight in the eye and said, “Picture.” (His first requested photo op!)
I sat on a nearby rock soaking in his complete and carefree abandon. I wondered when my older son had developed enough inhibition to stand at a safe distance while his younger brother wrangled the big fish.
I thought of how life has a way of beating inhibition into us.
We start as fearless, tiny children who would toddle off a six-foot playground structure if not closely watched. And somehow we become adults who can’t get up the courage to ask for a raise . . . or give consistent consequences to a boundary-pushing child . . . or dive head first into a swimming pool, for that matter!
The interesting thing is that as parents, we get to watch the process unfold in our children. It makes me want to hold on tight to my boys and keep them at this age forever. They have so few reservations. They don’t hold back with their emotions; toddler tantrums attest to that! They also have no reason in the world to hold back love and affection.
But I know that only a year ago, my older son would not have hesitated to pick that slippery fish up. I’m nervous to watch their reservations increase in number. I know I can’t stop it from happening, ever so slowly. All I can do is enjoy the now.
And this summer, I am diving head first into a pool! (Someone hold me to it!)