I sit with my nephew as he listens to his nursery rhymes, and I begin listening to them, too. What else can you do? And as they play on, my heart gets lighter, losing all the tar and the dust it had gathered from all these years. The rhyme tells my nephew he can be anything he wants to be. He is too little to know anything about these matters; eventually, the world wants you to decide and be something. I envy his innocence as he laughs and smiles, but then, I listen and find a hope I probably left back in some speaker or some bench at school or some other place I could not name or draw even if my life depended on it. But that is the thing—my life did depend on it, on being hopeful that anything is possible. And I sit there as he, having recently learned to stand on his own two feet, gets up and stays there, trying to balance desperately.
What is the rush? I ask him softly and laugh. There will be enough time to stand, to be required to do so, to be called on. Sit for now; let the music play. He loses his balance and falls as I catch him and softly let him onto the bed.
But in that moment, it occurs to me that we lose a lot of what we started with: the joy of a simple song, the feeling of excitement for no reason but because there is sound, there are colours, and we can experience them, the hope that if we truly wanted, we could be anything we wanted to and that it is up to us. But then, before this can worry me and before I make this something to dwell over, to be morose over, he starts to laugh.
And there it is, another well-timed reminder. It is a privilege watching you grow, I think, and I begin laughing too. How infectious! There is no virus as potent as a child’s laughter. Then, we continue sitting. Well, he keeps trying to stand now and then, and then, he falls, and I catch him.
The rhymes continue playing on the speaker.