At some point, adults seem to lose their capacity to be joyful. For Sophie Bloch’s young daughter, that moment hasn’t arrived yet.
My daughter June has been having a hard time at night. Anxiety about the darkness, about being alone in her room. She called to me from her bed, needing extra snuggles to bridge the gap from awake to asleep. I laid with her and we talked about what might calm her mind. We decided to read a story. She inspected her bookshelf, looking for the perfect tale to read.
June landed on an old book of mine, a silly Halloween paperback I remember choosing from the schoolbook fair when I was her age. We read a few pages and I asked her, “Can I show you something cool?” She eagerly said yes, still at the age where she genuinely believes I have cool things to show her.
I laid the open book on top of her lamp for a few moments, hoping that there was no expiration on the glow-in-the-dark paint that lined the illustrations. I placed the book back in her small hands and clicked off the lamp. In her dark bedroom, the pictures shone a bright, glowing, yellow-green. She said softly, with the purest awe and wonder, “Oh wow.” As if it were the northern lights. As if she had never seen anything prettier.
I haven’t been able to think about this moment since without crying. And I’ve been thinking about why those two words have made me so emotional. Is it because I know that the days where joy is effortlessly found are numbered for her? That she will grow up, and adult heartache will replace her easy, innocent joy? Am I mourning my own adult heartache, asking myself, when was the last time you said, “Oh wow” and really meant it? I think yes to all.
So I will learn from her. I will relish a cup of tea that is the perfect temperature. I will delight in the warmth of my dog on my lap. I will be grateful when my partner and I laugh ’til we’re in tears. And I will always, always look at my little girl, my heart barely contained, full of awe and wonder.
She will forever be my “oh wow.”
With a Perspective, I’m Sophie Bloch.
Sophie Bloch is a single mother from the East Bay with a passion for being in the kitchen.