With a fleet of three ships, Christopher Columbus voyaged to the edge of the earth. Only he never got there. The ledge continually escaped his grasp, moving further forward, further forward. Soon, he and his boys discovered that the world might not be flat after all. Then, after years of battling the stillness of windless days and the fury of nighttime waters, they discovered North America. Or, perhaps more accurately, they rediscovered it.
Marie, my seven-month-old daughter, is the Christopher Columbus of our family. The captain of our ship, the Santa Marie, if you will. And, like Columbus, she ventures to the ledge of, well, anything really. To play with momma’s books, she inquisitively crawls across my bed to the nightstand.
“What’s over the edge of this couch?” she must ask herself every single time she’s crawling across the cushions.
She does it purely to grab hold of something new, to experience that moment when magic becomes so real you can hold it in your hands. Like falling in love. Like a newborn baby. Like…a doorstop?
The other day she zoomed past a flashy, music-playing toy (on the floor, thank heavens) to play with the flimsy spring on the baseboard. Once she figured out how to flick it just right and make the boi-oi-oi-oing sound, it was game over for all other toys. After all, how can “Row Row Row Your Boat” compare to boi-oi-oi-oing?
And that’s typical. She plays with vents, drawer handles, and doorstops more than anything else. I don’t even know why we buy her toys. It’s almost as if she wants to work for her own entertainment.
“Oh, you’re going to give me this fancy light-up ball that plays all sorts of fun music? Nah, I’d rather spend the next 20 minutes trying to scoot across the room to that plain, white thing on the wall.”
After I remove her from all elevated surfaces, the small sting of panic subsides. And then, after I roll my eyes for having to play with the vent for the 23974th time that day, I have to step back to admire her bravado and adventuresome spirit.
When was the last time I passed up something shiny so I could explore new terrain? I mean, when I’m not with Baby Columbo, I’m looking at my iPhone, watching TV, or doing work on my computer. How often do we pass up an opportunity to explore, to search, to discover? Is our adult-world really that void of new experiences? Have we really gotten it all figured out?
I gaze proudly at my baby, realizing she has already figured out more than I have. I see the excitement, the rewarding look on her face, when she glances at me after experiencing something new.
“Did you SEE that?!?” she seems to shout. But without her, I probably wouldn’t have.
When was the last time you set out to discover (or rediscover) something new?