So… today was one of those days for me.
I didn’t intend to “attack” my (what some might say) junk closet, but I was looking for something, and one thing led to another.
I sorted, touched, admired, considered these treasures I’ve gathered- and almost everything I looked at was returned – in a somewhat more organized manner – behind the small closet-like doors of the antique buffet in our dining room.
All of these treasures are simple, but I feel certain any child coming across them, during some rainy day (kind of like me this afternoon) will be charmed – and ready to imagine the rest of the day away.
And who would think – in this beautiful old buffet – one would find such treasures?
And how did they come to be? One little treasure after another – tossed into this fantasy closet and quickly shut up before Tootsie got a chance to snatch a treasure for herself.
As other people build bank accounts (sorry!), or save family heirlooms for their grandchildren, I have tended a hideaway of small items to tickle any child’s imagination.
I know … I know – it’s all about simplicity now – and I totally believe in simplicity. I admire minimalists and – I actually do get rid of stuff we don’t need.
But these small treasures – no, not yet.
I love the way young children often interpret what we say to them. Literal thinkers that they are, their sometimes Amelia Bedelia-ish response can be both genuinely funny and sensible.
Theo often gets to be hands on in the kitchen and help when conditions are safe. However, he was also reminded to stay out of Daddy’s way when Daddy was using sharp knives or handling very hot cooking pots.
“Stay out of Daddy’s way” was what this toddler was told in these circumstances.
One day when his mom was looking for something she couldn’t find, this little guy, just like most observant toddlers, spied it right away. “There it is”, he said, “in Daddy’s Way” which meant it was over on the counter in the area where Daddy worked in the kitchen – and for him (and probably now the whole family) is known as “Daddy’s Way”.
Then there was the little girl who disrobed in the middle of a party because her scratchy party dress was “hurting her feelings”. Or the young child who was scolded for leaning over the grape bowl at a neighbors outdoor party and biting off the grapes with her mouth because her mom had told her not to touch the food with her dirty hands.
I remember a young boy who burst into tears while at a preschool circle because the teacher sang that he “wore a red shirt, red shirt” when he insisted he didn’t wear a red shirt, he wore an outfit because that’s what his mommy called it.
There are so many amusing and endearing responses that our children give to us as they interpret and maneuver their world. So, take the time, to listen and to appreciate their cleverness.
They are precious gems in our everyday lives.
Enjoy them, share them, remember them.
As parents, who hasn’t fantasized about the day we will have some free time – adult time – alone time – without children involved?
And then – the day arrives. There’s a chance for just that very opportunity – and so it happens – and what do we do? We miss them immediately – worry about them, wonder how they are doing, feel sad.
It’s a fact!
And that’s just another part of being someone’s parent.
But, fortunately these emotional moments of concern are short-lived as our little ones and us adjust to the new separation and begin to enjoy it. Until, of course, the next rite-of-passage arrives. This week brought many of these emotions to the fore with children going off to school for the first time, parents sending children off to Middle School, High School, even College!
Here’s hoping that you realize that that lump in your throat, those misty eyes, that sinking feeling as you walk away means job well done, and that this rite of passage is not only for our children but also for ourselves.
In each one we move on, allowing our children their chance to be who they are without our watchful eye, knowing that the loving bond between you runs freely and deep.