Posts Tagged ‘children’

Kittens and Babies

grandson1 I read once that the reason babies are so cute is for their own protection. They can be so demanding and so noisy and so much work, but then they smile, and the whole world is beautiful. Same thing for baby animals. What could be cuter than a fuzzy little puppy or a teeny furry kitten with those huge eyes staring up at you so innocent and all?Fiona1

Anyone who has owned a puppy or a kitten knows they can be far from innocent. In December we acquired little Fiona. She was a tiny thing, runt of the litter, so sweet and cuddly. We fell in love with her. But every morning and evening—and a few other times a day—she morphs into something possessed. She tears across the room and across anything in her path—chairs, tables, couches, piano, computer—at breakneck speed, barely pausing for breath. She scratches the chairs, chews up any pens left on the table, zips between our legs as we try to walk. In the morning we find evidence she has been on the kitchen counters, even the refrigerator, and who knows where else?

Feisty FionaHowever, after each wild spree she finally winds down, out of energy. She jumps on my lap, stretches up to sniff my nose, and looks at me with those big, beautiful eyes. And I smile back at her and mutter, “Kitten, you would be in so much trouble if you weren’t so dang cute!”

What can I do? She’s effectively squirmed her way into our lives, and we adore the little beast. That’s how it goes with kittens.Fiona2

Of course, kittens are nothing compared to grandbabies. Want to hear about my grandson? I have a couple hundred pictures I can show you. I’d have even more if he didn’t live clear across the country. I swear he’s just about the cutest baby that ever lived. You sure you don’t want to see some more pictures??

grandson2Kittens and babies: you’ve got to love them!

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The plane rises into the sky, lifted by forces I can explain but will never comprehend. Slicing through the clouds it disappears. Like magic. Like today turning into tomorrow, and present experiences becoming memories. For a moment, my heart flies with the plane as child of my flesh, child of my soul, you leave again.

Was it really a week ago you arrived? Why does now become yesterday so quickly? Christmas trees with glittering lights. Scones and fudge and decorated cookies. Cold sunshine and Oregon rain. Laughter amidst the warmth of family. Learning a new game where you are the master and we, your parents, mere apprentices. Chicken katsu with curry, artistically presented. You have grown into a strong and confident man, and our hearts glow with pride.

I drive slowly home, to be greeted by empty Christmas stockings and a quiet house. To embrace a husband whose heart also aches. Sweet memories have been added to my storehouse, and I will rejoice in those. Rejoice in love and family and faith—and all the blessings you have given me, often without even knowing. One day soon, those tomorrows will bring us together again. And that will be a wonderful day.

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Children at Play

Children playing in Blue Lake

Children playing in Blue Lake

Yesterday I sat on the grass by a lake, watching the children play. Two girls covered a friend with sand, as she grinned up at them. Their hair gleamed in the sun, and their eyes sparkled just as brightly. Waist-deep in the lake, a group of preteen boys waged war with their water guns, laughing in glee. Other children splashed about or built sand castles at the water’s edge. They seemed so carefree and alive in the moment. Ah, to be a child again!

Farther out in the water the child I brought here splashed in the roped-off area between the shallow play area and the deep lake beyond. She, too, seemed carefree, and yet I knew better. Her swim area could have been a metaphor for her life, as she teetered between childhood and the challenging teen years. Soon she would start middle school in a new school, her fourth school in the past two years. She worried about it. Would the other kids tease her? Would she have to shower after P.E.? Would she make any friends?

When I think of my childhood, I remember lazy summer days reading on the grass, family card games, birdwatching in the backyard. Yet, if I think a little more, I can also remember fights with my brothers, anger at a friend who broke her word, fears of not fitting in. The idyllic moments of childhood are interspersed with fears and disappointments, not so very different from adulthood.

Perhaps the advantage children have is that they are able to forget the bad when in the midst of the good. They can fully experience the joy of a sunny day at the lake without the bittersweet ache that it gives me, knowing that September is here, and a chill hides at the edge of the sunshine. I don’t regret the perspective the years have given me, but I am happy for the children, too, as they bask in the joy of the moment. May this gift not be taken from them.

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