Seeing the world through their eyes

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

It was the greatest feeling in the world as my little girl extended her arms around my neck, squeezing a hug with all her might from her tiny body.

“This has been the best weekend in my whole life,” she said, continuing to hug me.

And with a quick smile, she skipped away without a care in the world. My heart remained warm from her comment as I watched her laughing and embracing the moment with her childhood innocence.

Those are the moments that, as a parent, remind me of what is truly important in life.

Our daughter Elsie celebrated her eighth birthday this past Saturday. Several months ago, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. After thinking it over a few seconds, she grinned from ear to ear.

“I want a real unicorn,” she said.

A unicorn? How was I going to pull that one off? I wasn’t sure how I could produce a unicorn for her big day, but I assured her that she would have the most beautiful unicorn in the world.

Fortunately, I found someone who would bring their horses to your property for rides and photographs. But these weren’t just regular horses. Decorated with flowers, ribbons and even a glitter horn…these were unicorns.

As the summer sun beamed down upon our family house, Elsie was sitting on the front porch, eagerly awaiting the arrival of her unicorns. With the front yard decorated with banners and tables filled with food, none of that mattered to her at the moment. She had unicorns coming.

I was in the living room, looking out the front window when I saw the horse trailer pulling up our driveway. I quickly glanced over at Elsie, who at this point, ran off the front porch onto the yard.

“My unicorns,” she shouted, jumping up and down in her bare feet. “They’re here!”

The excitement and her shouts of joy instantly warmed my soul. To see my little girl that happy because her wish was granted was the best feeling in the world.

That afternoon, Elsie was able to ride a real unicorn around her yard. She hugged their necks with such love, as she managed to keep her smile on her face for hours.

I don’t believe that smile ever left her face for the rest of the day. Every time I looked over at her, she was smiling. That evening, when we tucked her into bed, she was still smiling.

And as I made my way into my own bed, I thanked God for such a perfect day.

“This really was a great day,” I said to my husband Jason. “It was worth every penny just to see Elsie so happy.”

Although I am the parent and Elsie is the child, she taught me some valuable lessons this weekend.

Family is top priority. Elsie invited a ton of friends and only a few made it, but she was happy because she was spending time with her family. It wasn’t all about the toys and material items. She was just happy to be surrounded by people she loved.

You don’t even have to leave your house to have a perfect day. Sometimes, I get so caught up with the idea that my family has to be taken to a beach, a movie, a party or any event to have fun. We remained in our family home all weekend, and it was best place to be. Within its walls, we made memories that cannot be replaced by exotic locations or expensive trips.

And wishes can come true. Elsie had faith that her mother and father would somehow manage to grant her wish. She never doubted that it couldn’t be done. Her faith in me reminded me of how much confidence Elsie has in me. I sometimes wonder if I am doing the right thing as a parent, but Elsie’s trust in me is the perfect reminder that maybe I am doing something right.

The unicorns at Elsie’s party were magical. But the real magic this weekend was celebrating Elsie’s entrance into our world, spending time with family, creating memories in the home and realizing that anything is possible.

Perhaps I need to start looking at the world through a child’s eyes, my own children’s eyes.

In their eyes it’s a world where family matters the most, a home is heaven and wishes can come true. That’s the kind of world I want to live in.