Adventures in Parenting – October 2013

The Art of Life

By  Patricia Darak

“What are you typing, Mommy?” My daughter peeked over my shoulder as I was sitting at my computer. I lifted my hands from the keyboard and slowly turned around. “I’m just writing a story, Sweetie. Why don’t you sit on my lap and help me?” She looked into my eyes, then shook her head. “No thanks, Mommy. I don’t have a story to write.”

Smiling, I reached over and hugged her. I assured her that there were stories everywhere: in the air, in our imaginations, on the walls. Everywhere. I asked her if there was something interesting that had happened to, or around, her today. She thought for a moment while scrunching up her face in concentration. “What about when you took our pictures, Mommy? Was that interesting?” I agreed that it was, and she jumped up and down a few times. “I think I have a story, Mommy!  I’m gonna go write it right now!” She skipped out of the room and started singing at the top of her lungs an improvised song about everything that had happened to her so far today.

About twenty minutes later, still singing her ode, she handed me two sheets of notebook paper filled with blue-crayoned words.

Parenting Gallup Journeywhen i was little
when  i  went  to  the  grocery store  i  was   little   and    freezing   and   wearing  a  dress  my  mom  was  funny  and  i  am  last   born and i am  good  and  shy  and  smart  and  funny   and  scary  and   very  nice  and   i  was   happy  and    loved   to   sew   a  dress and  my  mom  is  helpful  for  the  laundry  and   mom  is     happy   and   when  my    mom   made    dinner   she   has    carrots   and  she  cried   and    she   cried   hard   and   she   was   sad   when   i   was  little   i   was   scared   and    shy  and  very  very  happy  and   shiny   and    loved   and   my   stuffed   animals are   new   and   i   love  them  and  they  love  me  the  end

I was intrigued by her narrative, and I asked her about the line describing her as freezing. She told me that she was referring to when we went to the freezer section of the grocery store. She said that she felt like a popsicle for a little while. I also asked her about her description of my crying. She reminded me that sometimes I cried easily when I told her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me and how grateful I was that she was born. I nodded my head in agreement and teared up on cue. She kissed me on the forehead and said that she was going outside to play. I looked down at the papers in my hand for a little while.

I set the story down on my desk and sat back in my chair. After a few moments, I turned my computer off and went outside. I followed my daughter over to the sandbox and asked if I could play. She skeptically gazed up at me, then asked me if I would stay for a long time. I agreed. She proceeded to fill me in on the back story for her dolls, and orchestrated my part in the action.

We played until sunset, when her sister and brother came outside, too. We expanded our play storylines to include their characters, and we all became caught up. But, pretty soon the kids wanted to look at the pictures that we took of them and their friends. They all agreed that they were awesome. I was honored by their praise.

Glancing at the crock-pot on the kitchen counter, I announced that it was dinnertime, and that they needed to please go and wash their hands. A stampede for the bathroom broke out, followed by laughter and, curiously, a whistling contest.

I set the food on the dinner table just in time for their return migration, and we sat down to eat. Looking around the table at my healthy and happy children, I was overwhelmed by gratitude. I couldn’t help it; my eyes began to fill with tears of joy.

My youngest daughter, looking at me for the first time since she sat down, shook her head. “Oh, no. There she goes again.” And, as if rehearsed, all three kids grinned and shouted, “We love you, too, Mommy!”

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