Tag Archives: memories

Parenthood and childhood

19 Jun

I was just reading about school choices by parents – and yes, I read homeschool choices too. In fact, primarily those because blogging seems like a major outlet slash networking tool for those mothers!

And one of the comments on one of the posts said something to the effect that children don’t remember what happened when they were two, when they grow up. Do you?

No, the question tag was part of the comment too. And I had a very quick response – yes.

I actually do remember what happened when I was two. I remember walking into the rain on the terrace, falling backwards from the trike and someone running down the stairs and nearly flinging themselves over the balcony on the landing to stop my dad who was on his way to work… that, when you were barefoot, the floor in the kitchen was somehow a little different from the one in the bedroom with the power outlet under the bed and the unconnected plug that served as my mother’s or the maid’s stethoscope or mine, whenever we played together, the sadness on some days when the sunset came and the parents hadn’t yet… These posts I was reading were on separation anxiety. And while the commenter was giving good advice – “Go anyway. Your child does grow up and does learn to be her own person” – my instinctive reaction was that children perhaps do remember.

I remember.

I think children do remember. They hold these memories precious. And if you bring them up well, they know both the wonderful things you have done and given as parents and the things you might do differently. They also know the things they might do differently, if they were parents, given the memories they have as kids.

And after all, isn’t that the point?

I don’t think either extreme of the spectrum have it right – children are neither best served unguided, nor controlled. That sense of the child being a wonderful new person in Christ, as well as that sense of her being your responsibility the moment she steps into or forms into your family – both seem important.

The possibility of being a parent scares me sometimes. And I am often glad that it does. I’ve always wanted to adopt and the intentional choice and mission in that decision is such a symbol to me of the calling that parenthood is. Parenthood is a calling both for husband and wife. When it comes, it probably takes over everything else. Probably changes your choices about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Like God – he left his home, he left his place with God, he became a servant (becoming is a word for changing, he wasn’t only God anymore, he changed), he let them take his life if it would save the children… You practice for it when you marry someone, already. Too few people see that nowadays, I think. This is why I am glad that the idea of being a parent has not lost its fear for me.

But I’m just a 20-something talking.

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Art

21 Mar

My mum always told me how awful she was at art.

I’ve always told everyone how awful I am at art. 

I believed it too. When I grew up a little bit and knew what ‘art’ meant or what people meant by it, that is. And when I had to do it on a thin piece of paper with water colours.

The colours spilled outside my stubby pencil lines, and they were always too precise. The thing is no one taught me to find beauty and put it down. Inadequately but lovingly.

I tried to find the ‘beach scene’ and the ‘festival’ and everything else they assigned,

and I tried to find the beauty in the teacher’s eye.

You know what they say…

I wish I’d sat down and painted what was in my head, one evening outside of homework. But I knew by then I was no good at art.

I mean, I usually made just a couple of careless mistakes in maths. They loved my writing and published it. I knew what was in my head. I called it a picture once. And I could write it. I had learned to love the picture in my head. In the writing box, that is. But art class…

One afternoon, we all brought our art down to the recess area for class. I remember those colours now – I loved the grey and red shades I had managed to achieve. I can’t find them on my computer though 😦

The teacher had comments for books she liked. A select few. The others were tossed to the left of the class, as she ticked them off, in a correction frenzy pushing towards end-of-term.

I walked up to get it as the book gracefully flew out of the teacher’s hand and on to the floor. She wasn’t looking.

That wasn’t the only time my art book got thrown.

I’ve learnt to do pretty cupcake icing after three trials. It takes time. I’ve learnt to put crafty things together, stitch a bag, make a card better than the last one, calligraphy. I LOVE some of my photographs and I’ve made posters.

Maybe my mum’s not that awful at art.

One day, I want to find a friend, a large canvas and some paints…

Jana Sterbak’s Sisyphus Sport, 1997. Granite backpack. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Lessons from a father

24 Jan

Today is for my dad. You might already know that my dad and I have a fraught relationship. I have learned so much from my heavenly Father, that I sometimes forget what I have learned from my father. Growing up, he did love me… and I have learned good things, beautiful things from him. I will not show this to my father because although he has talked about our relationship to others and to me, he would feel it presumptuous in me to do so. He has said this before. But too often, I have held on to the barbs that hurt, the little lines, the marks of childhood, teenage and womanhood… because it was hard to forgive, but it is so hard to forget. Today, I’m ignoring the thorns that came with the plucking. And I am opening a box of pressed petals… birthday cards, lessons, laughs.

“Always read a chapter of the Bible in the morning, before you do anything.” That has come to be translated in my life as beginning the day with God, so you’ll get through it with Him. Every morning, to this day, I try. And if I don’t, I know nothing feels right.

“Keep your eyes on the ball. Don’t move them anywhere else.” Philippians 3: 13-14

“Got to put a shirt on to pray.” OK, this one’s funny. It made me laugh and it annoyed him that it made me laugh :). But it reminds me to give God my best and on the other hand, it reminds me of why I smiled too. I want to be naked before God, open to Him, vulnerable to His probing my heart and my hurts. But I also want to make every effort to give Him everything, to give Him my messy best. I don’t want to reduce grace to an excuse, but honour it as God’s greatest gift.

Generosity. My father never liked to be caught out without being able to give to people who asked. It irked him if he couldn’t, like duty undone! It has taught me to not be proud of my giving and let my ego be hurt by having less, but to trust God to bless me to give more. It has taught me also that giving is important. I have learned that giving is for closed doors, and that need is more obvious than we want to know. That not all who ask need and not all who need ask. Would that we did all ask our heavenly Father! I have learned more from his actions than my father ever sat down to teach me, but I have learned it well.

One day, when I was 15, my father said he was sorry… to me. That was the only time. I asked him not to, and we both cried. That wasn’t the end of our fraught relationship – I’ve said ‘sorry’ too for unthinking, reactionary words but it wasn’t. Yet it is one of my most precious memories.

It has taught me to say sorry, even when it is such a bitter thing to do. It needs to be said, and if you were wrong or unloving, you need to love again and seek peace. It. IS. Necessary. Even after healing, sometimes not always, hearing someone say that they know you were hurting is comfort. And you could give that to someone.

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