An Ode to Nicolai

19 months old and such a little grown up human being. A real companion. Communicating without words, only sounds, smiles, gestures, facial expressions, head shaking, pointing and hand taking – no mood or desire that he can’t get across. Innocent and open to the world. Approaching everyone, always expecting the best. No negative experiences that make him question his every move. Just double checking that mom is nearby.

Mom proudly and silently watches as he makes eye contact with a stranger, gives him a wink, wave or smile. Their face lights up, erasing all bitterness. Only an innocent child has that power – to be genuine. No ulterior motives.

Sharing food and toys and not yet having any concept of “mine” and “yours”. Taking the days as they come, smiling and waving good night to the world passing by outside – and greeting them all again the next day. Loving to sleep in and then walk into the kitchen without being surprised to share breakfast with a couchsurfer, to hear a foreign language, to be approached in a unique way. Routine is good, but if it’s not there something – usually better – is.

Understanding when bags lie packed in the hall it’s adventure time. Not complaining about where, how long, with whom, just happy to have mom at his side, to hold hands, to exchange love, to discover life.  Having never been harmed or let down, he has an ever growing interest in people, objects, food and music.

If I have one wish for him, it is to feel at home in the world. He was born with European, Asian, Arab and African blood and could easily pass for Latin American. Integration hasn’t and shouldn’t be the problem. Up to now strong arms and shoulders, pouches, strollers, horse carriages, bicycles, tuktuks, motorbikes, cars, buses, trains, planes, canoes, sailboats, ferries and his own two feet have taken him to 18 countries. I am super proud to have been his travel companion all the way – and I’m sure the adventures don’t stop here.

My son has taught me to live in the now. I can hardly remember what it was like when he was a real baby, nor can I imagine what he will be able to do tomorrow. I am incredibly thankful for every day I get to spend with him. He brightens every one of them and makes sure I get my fill of newness, challenge and fun. I dread the day when that lightness is gone and we have to follow rules that are not ours, but are – according to others – best for us. But rules are made to be bent, and I am positive we will find the right path for us.