Twinkling eyes, grubby hands, lips sticky and stained with cherry gloss, hair going in twenty different directions all at once - when you are a kid, how does that matter?
Indeed, why should it matter?
A period of life when having dirt beneath pink fingernails is clearly normal! A time when fashion is won over by face paint and dusty smudges on clothes are liberating!! A snail sliding along a railing is entertainment and a jump into a puddle is mandatory!
How long is it before vanity takes over and transforms the freespirited grin to a smile, the tight hug into the handshake, the carefree into the practised, or the innocence into the merely courteous?
When is it that adulthood creeps in and robs childhood joys?
There's no deeper pleasure than seeing the young grow - but can't that pleasure be delayed? Cannot they be young for just a few days more?
Every attempt to grasp that quicksilver moment of joy is thwarted by time, homework and responsibilities... and before you know it, a familiar someone with strangely foreign eyes await...
And then, the stick of gum is no more greeted with a whoop of joy, the comics are pushed away in favour of a Nancy Drew, toys traded for make-up and make believe shortchanged with disturbing reality!
And all the while, you sit watching - afraid to interrupt the transformation! Sweet child of mine... stay awhile...