As a child, did you ever have a sensation that was really special to you? Maybe it was the taste of a Hershey bar, the smell of freshly cut grass, or the feeling of being waterlogged after a day of swimming? Does it still transport you? For me, there was a soap called “Tinkerbell Soap.” I am certain of this. It had a distinctive smell that I found magical. I’m excited to report that Tinkerbell Soap still exists. I don’t actually know what it’s called. But I have taught my daughter to be on the lookout for it—now, whenever we find ourselves in a public restroom, she always smells the soap, and occasionally she’ll exclaim, “Mom, it’s Tinkerbell soap!” And she’s right!
We recently attended a movie screening at our local arts center. We stopped in the restroom, and I was washing my hands when I looked over and saw a young girl holding her little hands up to her nose. She turned to her mother and exclaimed, “Mama, smell the soap!” Mama, however, was deep in conversation with another woman. The little girl persisted, saying, “Mama, the soap!” Meanwhile my daughter emerged to wash her hands. I turned to the little girl and explained, “That is Tinkerbell soap.” Then I quietly said to my daughter, “Her mom didn’t hear her.” My daughter smiled at the little girl, who then turned to her own little friend and whispered excitedly, “it’s Tinkerbell soap!”
We smiled at the idea that Tinkerbell soap is now a magical part of another little girl’s life, and that the smell was special to her, as well. Unfortunately, Mom, too deep in conversation to hear her daughter, missed the magic moment all together. And I realized this is what we adults do every day! We are so busy running from obligation to obligation, checking off our to-do list, that we miss the really good stuff right in front of us, which fleets by, undiscovered.
This moment struck me as a reminder of the importance of stopping to listen to what others (especially children) have to say, to see what is around us, to realize that it is in the most unexpected moment—and in the most unlikely places—that we experience the magic in life.
- Look around. Once or twice a day, stop everything for a minute and just look around. What interesting things do you discover?
- Live through a child’s eyes. When you experience things, try to imagine yourself as a child, undistracted by the minutiae of life. Consider how giving things your full attention heightens the experience.
- Reach out every day. Whether it means petting your dog, paying attention to a child’s face as they speak, or simply smiling at a stranger, connect with the world around you—we’re all in this together, and our lives are enriched by making simple, thoughtful connections.