A lover ..

“Honey, can I ask you a question,” I say to my 10-year-old this past week.

We were driving home after a full day of work, school and a running program she had and we were talking about the day.

“Sure,” she replied.

Her class had put on a poetry reading earlier that day for all the parents.  I was fortunate to be able to be in the audience.   One by one, the kids went back and forth, reading the various poems they had each put their heart and soul and 5th grade humor into.

“I loved your poetry, you did such a great job today,” I told her.  “It was fun to hear how you think about life and some of the words you use to describe yourself .. and how much you think of mom and dad.”

It really was.  She and her entire class did a great job, and they thoroughly seemed to enjoy the project and the fact we were all there to listen to their final works.

“I’m curious though.. ” I added.  “What did you mean in your ‘I Wish’ poem when you said you wish to be like me and that means you want to be a ‘lover?'” I asked.

Part of 5th grade poetry project

I heard the words come out of her mouth at the time.  But I wan’t sure if I should be flattered or mortified.  I just went with it and flashed her a smile as she looked back and forth between her dad and I.

I needed to understand her meaning .. what she meant by that particular word.  What it meant to her I was a ‘lover’.  And then I could decide whether or not I needed to further react.  I’ve always tried to be affectionate where it’s appropriate (because I think it’s important she see what a healthy relationship can look like), respectful in any relationship and discreet at all other times.  But had something happened I didn’t know about?  Had she seen something I should be concerned about?

As we all know .. that does happen.  (insert laughter)

At that moment though, that particular afternoon, I had to put it in the back of my mind and get back to work.

Fast forward to our ride home again in the car .. and having the chance to ask her about it.

“It means that you love everyone.  You are nice to everyone.  Even when they are mean to you,” she said to me.  “I want to be just like you when I grow up.”

“Really?  That’s how you see me,” I asked her.

“Yes … you are just so nice to everybody.”

Sigh of relief ..

Now, if I can just pass that piece of knowledge along to the other parents who might be wondering what her definition of a ‘lover’ is too …

………………

I was talking later with the cowboy.

“Your are a lover,” says the Cowboy, laughing.

“It’s your best quality and your worst enemy,” he added.  “It’s your worst when people use it to take advantage of you, because you automatically love everybody.  But I don’t want you to change.”

All very sweet.  I’m grateful that is how some others see me.  Most importantly, my daughter.  I just don’t see why there is reason to treat others in any way other than with kindness and respect.

“How did you get to be that way, do you think,” the Cowboy asked.  I don’t ever remember a time I didn’t feel that way, that it was important to treat others kindly.  But it probably stemmed from always feeling like my role was that of peacekeeper at home growing up, now that I think about it.  That’s how I remember it anyway.  Right, wrong or indifferent.

All I want my child to know and that I hope she learns more quickly than I did .. there are exceptions to that rule.  The exception the Cowboy so eloquently pointed out above.

Being too nice can come back to bite you if you’re not careful because people will take advantage.  If there is one thing I would wish for my daughter it would be that she’s better at recognizing that than I am as she gets older – and nipping it in the bud.  While I still have some work to do, I have gotten better about it.  And I have made some important decisions in my adult life because I’ve come to realize … knowing when to let go or walk away sometimes, means treating yourself as kindly as you strive to treat others.

 

Mother-in-law ..

For years I had a handwritten poem on the front of my refrigerator from my former Mother-In-Law.  She had given it to us .. shortly after the birth of our daughter.

I love it.

And until then, I had never seen nor heard of it.

I saved that little handwritten note when I had to tear everything, photos, notes, etc off the fridge to ‘stage’ the  house when I put it on the market.  At the moment it is neatly tucked into a box in a folder in a storage unit.

But often, when I am bustling around trying to get everything in order as best I can .. I find myself saying ..

“Cooking and cleaning can wait til tomorrow
For babies grow up, I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So, settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

Since the day she wrote it down.. and I recall it vividly ..

Whenever I am able or think of that little note, I do what I can to bring my focus back around to what precious little time I have during any given day, with my daughter.  Even if it means watching her while she plays with someone else, or the dog, does her homework, fusses at me, goes off exploring ..

Or if it means I can just stay still for a few moments each morning and watch and listen to her breathe while she is still peacefully sleeping.  You know that moment.  There is nothing like it.

She may not be a baby anymore.  But it is a wonderful reminder for us in each God given day to slow down as best we can and appreciate the time we are given with those we love and hold dear.

…………….

As I was looking for who I might attribute the above words to, I found the following entire sweet poem:

Song for a Fifth Child

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton