I stare up at the big, blue sky and watch the clouds scudding across the vast space. “Look mommy, do you see the dinosaur?” I see it, and remember the times when as I child I used to cloud watch. I remember the simple pleasure of lying on the grass, arms and legs outspread, and just being. I remember feeling the sun beating down on my body and the cool breeze blowing across my face. I turn my face and look at my children experiencing the same pleasure that I used to. Then I look back up at the clouds and give myself over to the pleasure of lying in the sun on the grass and experiencing the moment. I know that now when I think of cloud gazing, I will not only remember my childhood but also the magic of looking up at the sky with my own children.
During the past few weeks both of my daughters have celebrated their birthday. As they are now teens, we no longer have a birthday party as we did when they were younger: there are no balloons, party games and fun activities. Instead we make lunch for them and their friends (stir-fried noodles is always a favourite) with birthday cake for dessert. My daughters spend time with their buddies chatting, playing board games and even switching on the Wii to play some games their friends have brought with them.
As I watch my girls interact with their friends, I feel a sense of contentment. I see that they are happy, that they have good friends, and that they are able to socialise in a group setting. I am grateful that they feel a sense of belonging and that they have friends with whom they can spend their time at school.
My youngest daughter has just returned from a four day music camp. My husband and I were willing to give her the experience of learning strategies to play her violin better; and of giving her the opportunity to spend some time at the lake.
While she was gone, however, I did miss her. I missed her hugs, her laughter, and her chattiness. Her sister missed her company too – especially as they are best friends who do a lot of things together. When she came home last night, we had a small celebration: a favourite meal was cooked; and a long conversation around the table took place.
This week I am grateful for my daughters. I am grateful for the pleasure they give me of their company. I am grateful that they wish to spend time with me: that they wish to chat with me and share their concerns with me. I am grateful for the chance I have to raise two children who have become precious daughters.
She whispers softly to her mother while clinging to her leg. “What is it sweetie? Don’t be shy.” Parents and children mill in the drop-off area; children cling to mommy or daddy’s hand. Only a few run around the area: those who are used to this school environment because of an older brother or sister. Whispers abound as the kindergartners look around with wide open eyes. Their uncertainly makes them hold back their high spirits and natural curiosity.
Experience has shown me, however, that these early whispers will change. Once the first day jitters are overcome and the children feel comfortable in their environment, the whispers will transform into voices filled with exuberance. Once their confidence grows, the answers given on the carpet in a large group setting will no longer be softly spoken. Instead, answers will be spoken with assurance and sometimes with humour.
It is not often I hear whispers in my classroom. Instead, I need to remind them to use “indoor voices”.
When my babies used to cry, I gave them comfort. I tried to heed once the advice “leave them to cry until they fall asleep” , but I could not. The crying used to tear at my heart and I would pick the baby up and cradle her close to me. The cuddles and comforting did not stop when they were toddlers, or when they began school. Often a quick hug and cuddle was all that was needed to heal a booboo, or to chase away a scare. I used to love holding the small body of my child against me; to give love and comfort which was given back to me ten-fold.
Now my babies are older. They do not run to me for comfort as often as they do, but there are times when they still need my arms around them. They are now almost my height and I cannot cradle them as I used to – but I still enjoy the warmth that surrounds us as I help to give solace to my child. As their needs change, the way in which I give comfort changes. At times all they need is a word of reassurance, an acknowledgement that what they are doing is the right thing for them to do. I am still, however,there for them whenever they need the warmth of their mother’s touch and love.
And in giving them comfort, I know that I am doing what every loving mother does. It may seem like a small action but it is one that has created a strong bond between me and my children.
What is your experience of giving comfort?
(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Comfort)