The other day, my youngest rescued a discarded weed from the ground. She walked into the ballet studio holding it.
Seconds later a little boy about four years old said, “Mommy, what is that? What does she have?”
With little patience and a dose of disgust she replied (in full earshot of my daughter), “It’s just a weed.”
We looked at each other, my daughter and I–a knowing look passing between us. I could hear us both thinking along the lines of, “She doesn’t know. She can’t see how beautiful this pretty weed is. How sad.”
And it was beautiful. It had been chosen for the way it stood out among the living, the way its faded glory contrasted the vibrant colors all around it, and for its unique shape, crisp from the sun.
Children often look at life without predefined boundaries. They see beauty and possibility in things others discard; things that go unnoticed by most.
I’m trying to see my world through their eyes more often. Children everywhere fascinate me.
I love their faces.
I love their conversations.
I love their ideas.
I love their haphazard treasures, their rambling thoughts, and their discarded “weeds”.
These horses couldn’t get enough of each other. I think they may be frenemies. Is this the nature of boundary-pushing friendships?
Certain people fall (or are pushed) into our lives. Sometimes the blessing one person provides–and at just the right moment–is beyond comprehension. We think, and may even say, “Where would I be without so-and-so?” Then we picture some horrible, smelly, wet, dark ditch (or, insert your own horrific thought here) that, without them, would surely have been our reality.
But what about other people whose impending presence make us sweat, bite our nails, tug our hair, or double-over with a belly ache? Too dramatic? Is there anyone in your life who, when they call, you send right to voice mail? Me neither, but just in case…
So why am I talking about this today? Because when I think about the people I know who are fighting for their lives, their marriages, their careers, their sanity; “life is short” is what comes to mind. And sometimes we have fallen into a trap in which other people’s expectations are what keep us from the kind of life we dream of, or at least from pursuing the goals we’ve kept pushing aside while helping other people fulfill theirs. Or we have a “friend” or two who take, but don’t give back. It may not even be a person, but a “thing” that we’ve committed to that doesn’t actually fit into our already busy lives.
Is there anyone or any thing that comes to mind? Is it time to say “No” and make it stick? Is it time to readjust the schedule or priorities? Do you need permission? Ok, you’ve got it! What are you waiting for?
My son admitted to a bit of “Ding-dong Ditch” the other day. I tried not to admonish too strongly–after all, it used to be one of my favorite illicit activities, and one that was relatively harmless. But I did tell him that it was not thoughtful, complete with reminders about how some people–older or infirm ones–have to work very hard just to respond to a rung bell. I saw the lightbulb moment in his eyes.
And then, the scared-Mommy thoughts surfaced: “What if some creep comes to the door, hunts them down, and grabs…” – or- “What if they don’t make it away from the door in time, and the grumpy, gun-toting dowager down the street decides to teach them a lesson, barely missing a foot, or an arm as she shoots, cackles (not all dowagers are dignified), and bangs the door?”
What makes our children stop and think about how they spend their time? Do each and every one of our lessons land somewhere inside of them, to be culled as needed–in time to keep them safe? I like this fantasy.
I also know reality–know that all too often our beloved children step out and into trouble before we can blink back our fearful tears.
“STOP!” I want to yell – “Ingest every single shred of wisdom I have heaped on you.”
“STOP!” I want to yell – “Don’t make the same mistakes I made.”
“STOP!” I tell myself. Then I take a deep breath (or five hundred) remember that I AM doing my level-and-not-so-level-headed best to help my children avoid the deepest potholes, and that there are plenty of other signs along the way–signs I hope they will heed.
Funny thing is…had I known all this before becoming a parent–how certain moments make you wish you hadn’t, because sometimes the worry and the pain seem unbearable-nothing could have stopped me from doing it anyway.
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Sir Isaac Newton’s third Law of Motion explains much about the kickback of a fired gun, a firefighter’s lean-in to counteract the push-back of a coursing water hose, the reason a bicycle is easier to balance when it is moving than when it is stationary, or the displacement of water when something is dropped into it. But does this law have applications beyond physics?
Do our relationships bear witness to Newton’s scientific explanations as well? Do actions always beget equal and opposite reactions when it comes to interacting with others? If so, how? If not, why not?
Will you join me on a philosophical exploration? Weigh in…tell me what you think. Don’t worry about being right, or clear, or wise…I’m just curious.
And if this photo sparks completely different thoughts, leave those as well.
p.s. – Red Bells (Paprika) are wonderfully healthy. To see a full nutritional breakdown of these beauties, you can go here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2896/2
content and photo are the property of author/photographer, Britton Minor and The Jaded Lens Photography