Small hands, sweet smelling from the bath,
Gently patting my face
Small fingers touching
Small soft voice whispers in my ear, “I love you.”
The touch of small sweet lips on my cheek.
Then in an instant
Small weight settling to sleep in my arms,
Eyelashes curling in sleep,
Moving in rhythm with your dreams.
An interlude of peace and then awake,
In case I’d missed that you were still,
Above all else
A small boy.
You bring a gift
A slug, with grass and sticks and water in a plastic cup
You leave and catch a plane
While he, forgotten, leaves a trail of slime across the table.
Kids and clothes can be washed. (Discovered that one is hereditary.) (And it came back to bite me when my grandson quoted it to me as I commented on his shirt!)
Little girls are worth way more than butter dishes. (Still consider this one of the best things I ever said – it was my grandmother’s butter dish and she would have agreed.)
It’s the opinion of the person in the mirror that counts. (If you’ve lost your self-respect you’ve pretty much lost everything. Do what you know is right for you.)
Out-nice the meanies and the bullies and you will be proud of yourself. Nothing disconcerts the bullies as much as not being able to get to you. (Hard one, especially when you are small. Kids can be so mean.)
Do your best.
“Success lies not in being the best, but in doing your best.”
On the fridge for decades.
Keep your head up and backcheck. (This is a whole other post; stay tuned)
I may not like what you do and you may be able to make me stop liking you for a while but you can’t make me stop loving you. Don’t even try.
Call anytime. I will come and get you, no questions asked. (Still applies, calls would be for different reasons now.) This one takes patience when they call as teens and you are already asleep. Worth it though.
Did you do it on purpose? No? Then quit worrying and get on with it. (The way I grew up made me reject shame and guilt. People are the most important.)
This above all: to thine ownself be true. (Stolen from Shakespeare. When the incoming head of school quoted that at my daughter’s grad everyone probably wondered why she laughed.)
Don’t sweat the small things. I learned this from the Head of our school. Don’t argue about hair and earrings and makeup. Save it for the important things like values and behaviour.
I reserve the right to add to this.
The little voice echoed down the hall: “Mommy?” She was not a sleeper, this child, and she had been told that when it was time for nap or bed, if she couldn’t sleep she had to have quiet time. (For the good of all.) But there was a certain note of fear in her voice so I went to check.
“Mommy, there’s a moose in my closet and I think he is going to come out.” She was dead serious. What would you do? So at first I told her the closet wasn’t big enough and no moose had ever come into our house so he couldn’t be there. Logic is not particularly effective with toddlers. So I had to stay in her room with her to ensure that she was safe.
He came back the next day and the next and while I wanted to laugh, this small imaginative child was truly scared. There was no sign of moose food in her room so perhaps she thought she was the fodder. I have no idea why she thought a moose was more dangerous than say, a ghost, or a monster. I’m not even sure she had ever seen one.
So what to do? After a while sleep deprivation over an imaginary moose doesn’t sit very well. So I had a brainwave. Our city had a zoo. And sure enough there was a moose there. We do live in Canada after all. So we mounted an expedition to take the moose to the zoo. Luckily since none of us could see him sitting in the back of the car, neither could the authorities so we didn’t get stopped on the way there. And lo, the moose was released from the car (he wasn’t buckled into a carseat) and he ran as fast as he could back to where the food was better from a moose point of view. When we followed him to his enclosure there he was munching cheerfully (as cheerful as moose ever appear to be anyway). There was one relieved Mommy I will tell you.
He never came back and as it was fated, she only likely ever saw the one, so far anyway. Now moose elude her. We jokingly bring her moose souvenirs wherever we go but she never sees a real one. Not in the wild, not in captivity. Even when we went to that same zoo 30 odd years later to show her small child the descendant of Mama’s famous moose there was no one home. Perhaps he too was out visiting a small child.