How Parenthood Awakened My Sense of Wonder


A few weeks ago, a clip of Mr. Rogers singing his classic song “Did You Know,” stopped me in my tracks:

Did you know? Did you know?
Did you know that it’s all right to wonder?
Did you know that it’s all right to wonder?
There are all kinds of wonderful things!
Did you know? Did you know?
Did you know that it’s all right to marvel?
Did you know that it’s all right to marvel?
There are all kinds of marvelous things!

For days afterwards, I couldn’t seem to get the song — and its captivating questions — out of my head. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who was mesmerized: Google used Rogers’ song in a commercial for its new Pixel 3 phone — and was granted permission to do so, given the thematic connection with the song’s content.

Wonder doesn’t always come easily to me, now that I’m into my adult years. But being a parent is transforming me and helping me see the world in a new way.

My young daughters seem primed for the world’s delights. “LOOK!” they shout, in their impossibly tiny, high-pitched voices. “LOOK at the sunrise! LOOK, it’s SO beautiful!” There was a period of a month, when my oldest daughter was a toddler, when the sight of her own toes popping out from under a blanket made her shout with glee. She would say a slow, deliberate “woooww” at the sight of sun streaming through a window, the way a light switches on and off, the impossible pleasure of cold ice cream on a finally-warm spring day.

Brandi Carlile, in her gorgeous song called “The Mother,” sings these words about her daughter and I cannot help but feel they are true for me as well:

Oh, but all the wonders I have seen, I will see a second time
From inside of the ages through your eyes

All the wonders I have seen, I will see a second time. A sun-streaked sky, the marvel of electricity, their first sight of the world below out the window of an airplane. Look, Mommy, my daughters say to me. Look at the flowers. Look at the sky. Look at us. Look and see and behold and be amazed.

One of the great gifts of parenthood — for me, at least — has been rediscovering my own sense of wonder. Perhaps this is why Rogers’ song struck such a cord. It caused me to reflect: Do I really know that it’s “all right to wonder”? Or have I become numb with age? Have I forgotten about the “all kinds of wonderful, marvelous things”? This is one of the ways my daughters are transforming me. They are reminding me to see.

Mary Oliver, in her oft-quoted poem “The Summer Day,” writes:

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day…

Could it be that wonder, itself — or the art of paying attention with curiosity and gratitude — is a form of prayer? That when we truly notice the surprising delights of our existence, we are standing in God’s presence?

It is, indeed, all right — and, perhaps, even holy — to wonder. It is all right to marvel, to notice, to pay attention. This week, may we take time to wonder. May we come to behold the world’s delights. And, in doing so, may we find ourselves changed — primed for gratitude and awe. Primed to see.

Be in the know with Grotto