Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Touch of Tiny Fingers

A woman came in the shoppe today with her three year old granddaughter. They wandered around here and there looking at a variety of things. It was near closing time, so I sat at the front desk, listening to their interactions. It wasn't long before the inevitable conversation took place: you can look, but don't touch.

I purposely have very clear memories of being a small child. At an early age, I determined not to forget the feelings that burned inside of my young spirit. Being talked down to drove me bonkers. Discovering bits of onion in my food set my teeth on edge. Drinking powdered milk kicked in my overly developed gag reflex. (The list of food issues could go on for ages...) and every trip to the fabric store filled me with a burning desire to touch EVERYTHING.

I can't help but wonder what it is about small children that makes every experience so intense. I've been told scientifically that taste buds change with age. Yes, I do willingly eat things I once termed to be barfola. Our emotional skin hardens to the insults that once rocked our worlds. We learn the borders in society that frown upon inappropriate behaviors that start as innocent fascination in the young.

I guess my question is, what do we lose as we move away from early discovery, and become the people society expects us to be? I'm not suggesting shuffling off all the shackles of social norms, but perhaps we could all benefit from taking a moment to run our fingers over the rough and sparkly surface of a handmade card, or let our hands caress the bolts of fabric in the aisles, at least as long as we make sure to wash them first ;)

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