Kids live by their own set of rules. From imaginary friends to bizarre social conventions like showing strangers their underwear, kids just fly by the seat of their pants and live their lives however they please. It’s really kind of cool and it really kind of sucks. My son turned 1 last week and I have seen the most strange and wondrous things this past year that make me wonder if my son is crazy, or if we as adults are doing it all wrong. Tonight as I sat down to write this blog, my son had a conversation with his own hand while flopping around the floor without his pants on. After that he rode a 4-wheeler through the living room. God damn I am so jealous.
It is in this spirit that I look back on all of the things that my son has taught me about life. Sometimes as adults we get so wrapped up in our own manufactured garbage that we forget that we ultimately have control of how the world works. So I present to you 3 things I have learned from a one year old.
1: As long as you’re cute enough, you can get away with a LOT.
While it’s not a conscious effort to take advantage of our weaknesses as parents, kids are simply able to get a free ride on a lot of crap just because they’re small and squishy. From ‘accidentally’ slapping people in the face to crapping their pants in the middle of the living room while maintaining perfect eye-contact with someone, there just seems to be some sort of ‘cute override’ sequence that makes the most reprehensible acts seem adorable. I swear, my son could crawl around the corner holding the severed head of my cat in his hands and I’d probably snap a picture of it and share it on Facebook. The adult equivalency of this is probably celebrity. Example: Chris Pratt could walk through my front door tomorrow and shit on my coffee table and I’d probably put it in a box and freeze it so I could keep it forever. Cute gets a pass.
2: Everything is a toy.
When we were kids we had imagination shooting out of our ears. I can remember the crazy adventures I would make up with my brother playing G.I. Joe. A white blanket would turn the couch into a snow-covered mountain, an upside-down wicker basket became a pit of quicksand. Watching my son at his young age turn absolutely everything into a toy reminds me that fun is only limited by what’s in our minds. In fact my son has more fun with household items than he does with his toys. Last weekend he got a pile of new toys and books for his birthday, but he’s just as content playing with a plastic straw and some pillaged tampons from the bathroom cabinets. Go figure.
3: Life is easier than you think.
It’s so easy to get bogged down with grown-up troubles: money, work, time, politics. Little kids are so happy because they’re free of the worries of adult life. My son wakes up every morning, smiles, waves and claps his hands within minutes of opening his eyes. He doesn’t dread going to work, or worry about having to pay the bills. He sees his mommy and daddy smile at him when he first opens his eyes and that is the most important thing in the world, not just to him but to me as well.
The best thing in life is a smile and sharing a laugh with those around you. Nobody does this better than a kid. I really think they’ve got it right. It makes me want to wrap a bubble around Elliott and keep him from growing up. I just want him to be this happy forever, to have the whole world wrapped around his chubby little fingers. My wish for everyone is that they can find that piece of childhood innocence and harness it just a little bit each day so that we remember how it is to live life with a smile. However I don’t recommend shitting yourself while making eye-contact… it makes it all seem a little too personal and weird.
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