Neoteny

published

Josephine It has been absolutely amazing to watch my daughter grow up. In the last two years, she’s gone from a completely helpless little baby to a vibrant, curious, self-directed individual. She’s developed a personality, and she approaches the world with a sense of enthusiasm and curiosity that I positively envy.

Josie enjoys running. She runs for no reason at all. She runs, I presume, because she enjoys the thrill of moving fast under her own power. She runs because she can. She calls out to us to watch her run fast. She cheers herself at the end of a run through the house or across the yard: “Good job, Josie!” she exclaims as she claps enthusiastically. She sings nonsense songs. She jumps up and down. She shouts for no discernible reason. I think she likes the sound of her voice, and enjoys exploring how loud she can get. She sticks her fingers in her ears and talks very loudly so that she can hear herself. All of these and more she does, and does with a tremendous smile on her face. She giggles and laughs after she calls “Daddy!” extremely loud while plugging her ears.

I wonder: when did so many of us lose our sense of enthusiasm for just being alive? Is our own locomotion so mundane that it’s not worth enjoying? Are our voices so commonplace to us that we can no longer delight in the sounds we can produce? Are we all so busy running the rat race of adult professional life that we can’t do silly things just for the sake of doing them?

I thoroughly enjoy playing with Josie. It’s downright fun to be silly with her, and to rough house with her, and to chase her across the room or across the yard, and to jump and shout with her. It fills me with joy to hear her unadulterated laugh ring out. It amazes me to watch her play with her blocks, or sneak up on someone to tickle them, or simply blow me a kiss goodbye in the mornings. She’s a marvel.

I intend to run and jump and shout with Josie for as long as I can, and enjoy every visceral minute of it.


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