"Enjoy Each Other and Laugh"

Julie Jenkins Sathe

It occurs to me how wonderful it is that children are the same everywhere. I am fortunate enough to be visiting Barcelona, Spain. No matter what my mood, what my tickets cost, what the exchange rate is or how lost I am in a foreign country….a child laughing always brightens my mood.

How lucky am I to have found my chosen profession when I was merely 18 years old. I have taught, directed and owned child care centers since then. I delayed becoming a mother until I was 28 and it seemed late at the time. That is certainly normal, even young today….but at the time I felt that clock ticking.

I have traveled around the US and Europe children are the one common connection that we have with each other. They in fact house our truest, simplest, most sincere heart. They are so good at letting us know what they like and what they don’t like. It is unnecessary to speak any particular language. I can tell if an Asian baby is wanting to be held, a Catalonian baby wants to keep the stroller moving or if a Russian baby wants to play peek-a-boo. They are so clear with their body language requests.

When I married my husband David, he was at first uncomfortable that I would wave and talk to babies that we passed in our travels, even just near home in the US. But after 13 years, it doesn’t even occur to him anymore. Well, it may…but after 13 years he doesn’t say anything to me.

Parents are cautious with their babies, but love people cooing or talking to their children. I make sure to never cross any boundaries, of course, so I have never had a negative response. It’s the easiest way to make someone feel included, include their child.

I was watching a young girl of maybe two years old in a park in Barcelona, yesterday. Her young mother was stretched out on a bit of grass relaxing or perhaps waiting. The young child patted her mothers belly and it made a funny sound, like a watermelon probably. The mother laughed and the child continued. As an observer I could tell that the mother was getting sore, irritated or was getting embarrassed in this public place. But the child’s goal was clear: do something that makes Mommy laugh. She continued to do this as I watched a number of times. Mother couldn’t politely dissuade her child, as her gentle words could not compare to the fun that they had had earlier. The child, of course wanted more of the fun and shared laughter. I could just see the child thinking, “Maybe this time it will be funny to her, again.” As adults, we sometimes forget the most simple thing. Our child just wants us to be happy. We say the same thing about them, that we just want them to be happy. As adults, though we complicate it with purchases and toys. We have a more complex life and let that get in the way of the limited time we have with our young ones. But children know how to be happy. It’s easy. Just enjoy each other and laugh!

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