The Gift of Presence

I am not covering any new blog territory when I say parenting isn’t always what I expected it to be.

I remember quiet, late night nursing sessions, rocking and watching an impossibly cute and sleepy Thing One snuffle away.  I would let my mind wander to all of the wondrous things I would share with her; teach her.  Introduce her to A Few of My Favorite Things, if you will:  Charlotte’s Web.  Warm chocolate pudding.  Crisp fall mornings.  Winter days so cold and dry your nostrils prickle and threaten freeze shut. Cinema Parasido.  Cribbage.  I am just a simple girl from Vermont, with simple pleasures.

Thing One is now 10 years old, and the reality has been quite different.  She doesn’t really like chocolate pudding.  And lately I am finding that I am the one that is doing the learning.  To be honest, some of it is a little tedious, like re-learning how to subtract 4 5/8 from 6 3/8.  Some of it is completely unexpected;  like finding I love reading aloud The Hobbit, when I couldn’t stand the book on my own.  But most of it involves me simply letting her take the lead, to show me what she is seeing, to take the time and really listen and be present while she tells me what she finds important, what she already knows.

Last weekend, the four of us took a walk in the town forest.  Little Thing Two was hanging and exploring with Dad, and Thing One was back with me, pointing out fungi.  She is just coming off of a botany block at school, so she was eager to share.  Shelf fungus, puffballs, lichen, princess pine moss.  To make it interesting, I said, “Let’s see if we can find 5 different fungi on this walk.”

The woods to me were looking like a pleasant-enough blur of green and brown.  To Thing One, it was filled with fascinating detail.  It didn’t take her long to find 5 different fungi and then move on to other tiny wonders.   Luckily, she was patient with me and waited and answered my silly questions.

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2 responses to “The Gift of Presence

  1. Favorite things- “Winter days so cold and dry your nostrils prickle and threaten freeze shut. “. Wow! You really are a Vermonter! :-)

  2. been there; done that

    A couple of days like that and you’ve really had the radish!!

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