Friday, May 29, 2015

Sing it Loud

I was at my youngest's Kindergarten graduation/program today(Am I the only Mama that just weeps right through every milestone?). I couldn't help but notice the marked difference between the preschool program of last year and the Kindergarten one this year.

You know the beauty of preschool programs? The kids really don't give a rip about what everyone else around them is doing. They file haphazardly onto the bleachers and scream out exuberant greeting to their family.  They are (mostly) happy to be up with their friends, with their family watching from the audience and will sing loosely along with the lyrics that have been diligently taught by their teachers. They sing loudly and exuberantly, throwing their entire little bodies into the dance moves. There is often a child or two that chooses not to sing and, instead, dance wildly on the outskirts of the stage or just stand frozen, grinning out at their family. It really is a beautiful thing, when everyone chooses to beat to the tune of their own drum.

Fast forward just one year and the kids have become much more aware of social expectations. The children file onto the bleachers and wave shyly at their parents in the audience. They stand stick straight in wait for the first notes of the first song and when it begins, they begin to sing in a whisper. There is much looking at each other to ensure that everyone else is singing too and you can see them mentally matching their volume to their peers. They have become grade schoolers this year. It is no longer appropriate to spin in circles at the periphery of the group instead of singing or belting out the words three beats ahead of everyone else. There is an awareness of themselves as a part of a community that wasn't there before.

The parents watch proudly. They are growing up so quickly. Our babies are no longer our babies.

This growing up thing. It's bittersweet.

I am terribly proud of the growth that my daughter has undertaken this year. It makes my heart sing.

And, yet....I will always miss the little girl that proudly belted out songs everywhere we went- in the aisle of the grocery store, in a quiet moment at church, at the playground while spinning until her skirt stuck straight out. I will miss the little girl who dressed herself in whatever caught her fancy for the day- pajamas, princess costumes out of the dress up box, random too-large clothing pilfered out of her big sister's drawers. There is so much that I will miss of my quirky preschool daughter, even as I delight in her newfound skills and personality.

My biggest hope for my daughter, for all of my children, is that she will hang onto some of that quirkiness for life. That she will not spend her life quieting her own song in deference to those around her. Because, fitting in and being socially acceptable is all well and a point. But, being yourself is the very best gift that you can give yourself and the world.

My sweet girl. Make your life sing in the way that only you can. Sing it loud and sing it proud, Baby. Mama's gonna take your lead and try to do the same.

{2 years old and singing proudly into her plastic spoon. Sing it, my Love}

Friday, May 1, 2015

Please World: Be Kind to my Children


When I look upon my children, ages 13, 9 and 5, I do not see them as the growing children they currently are. I see them as defenseless babies. I imagine that I am not alone in this.

As I send my children out into the world- to school, to church, to sports... I send out a silent wish for the world to be kind to them.

To be kind to them when they, too, are kind.

To be kind to them when they are flawed and forget to be kind.

To be kind to them when they are loveable.

To be kind to them when they are not so loveable.

For they are my babies and I am entrusting them to a sometimes cruel world. I know their hearts and the purity within and I simultaneously want the world to see this innocence and fear that the world will take advantage of such purity.

I remember after the birth of my first child, my son- taking our first walk down the hallways at the hospital. He was snuggled into the wheeled bassinet. Me, waddling gently with one hand across my c-section scar. We wheeled over to the nursery and I gazed upon the sleeping children within. I looked upon my son and my knew that my heart had swelled to many times its former size. As I looked upon the infants in the nursery, I knew that there were many mothers in this hospital feeling the same feelings. It was a profound moment for me.

We are each a mother's child. Someone out there loves us in an unspeakably deep way.

The sweet curly-haired child at the park- Some mother's child.

The infant crying on the bus- Some mother's child.

The perpetually dirty, loud-mouthed boy who bullied your daughter at school- Some mother's child.

The cranky secretary at the dentist's office- Some mother's child.

Every child, every adult. Kind or cruel in this moment- Some mother's child.

We are each a mother's child. I grant you that all mothers(and fathers) are not capable in loving in the way that all children are deserving of. This fact alone should make us love each other more, not less.

Please, Dear World: Please, please, please- Love my children as your own.

Please, Dear World: Please, please, please- Love EVERY child as your own. For they are each some mother's child.

Love on, Dear Ones. For YOU are some mother's child. You are treasured, whether you know it or not.