cloudy with a chance

July 27th, 2010

On a week when I am at away at a practice retreat, I asked Lindsey Mead of A Design So Vast to write this guest post. She offers her own practice reminder and weather forecast. If you’re in Boston, it looks like you’ll just have to get wet!

I never understood the saying, Our kids are our teachers. Actually, I’d go further.  I rolled my eyes whenever I heard it.  I thought it was one of those trite adages like another one that I love to hate, It is what it is.

Then one day last fall, the universe hit me over the head with the truth of that statement.  Grace, Whit and I were walking to the playground in Harvard Square.  Grace was in the middle of a long-winded story when I glimpsed a friend standing by the gate of the playground.  She waved at me and shouted hello.  “Hi! So glad to see you!” I responded, waving enthusiastically.  When I dropped my hand to recapture Grace’s I found that she had crossed her arms angrily across her chest.  She’d planted her feet in a classic I am NOT happy stance, stubbornly remaining behind as Whit and I kept walking.  I turned back to her.  “Gracie, what’s up?”  She shook her head, screwed up her eyes, and I saw tears rolling down her cheeks. I dropped Whit’s hand to hurry back to her, crouching down in front of her.

“Well, sometimes, when you see an adult and you are excited to see them you stop listening to me. Sometimes I feel like you are not paying attention to me. And you always tell me interrupting is wrong. But then…” she hesitated, “then you do it yourself sometimes?” Her voice wavered and I could tell she was not sure if what she was saying would get her in trouble. I wrapped her in a huge hug as I realized the wisdom of her words.  I whispered that she was right, that I needed to be more careful, that she was a thousand times right and thank you for reminding me.

The ways that Whit teaches me are somewhat different, though the lesson is always the same.  Mostly he makes me laugh, which is in its own way a tug back to the reality of my life.  One morning as we sat at school waiting for the classrooms to open, I had Grace on one side of me and Whit on the other. Absently, I said, “What do you guys want to talk about?”

“Let’s talk about our feelings,” Whit said firmly.

I was impressed. My little sensitive soul. Moments later he was vigorously kicking my sneaker with his boot.

“Whit! What are you doing?” I asked him.

“What do you feel, Mummy? Do you feel pain?”

Ah. Those feelings are the ones he wanted to talk about.

Occasionally, though, he blindsides me with tremendous wisdom.  A week or so ago Whit and I took Grace to camp to drop her off.   I went in with her and Whit stood outside, uncharacteristically pensive. When I came out I took his hand and we headed back to the car. As we walked, he said to me, “Mummy, it looks like it is going to rain.” I was distracted, as usual, and murmured, “yeah, yeah.” The sun was shining and I wanted to get him to his camp. He yanked my arm, stood stock-still, pointed at the clouds, and said, “Mummy! It really looks like rain. Look at those clouds.”  I looked up, annoyed to be hesitating for this long moment.  “Do you see, Mummy?” he asked me insistently.  I hurried him to the car.

Fifteen minutes later it was pouring.  Not only was he accurate about the rain, he was accurate about the clouds – the ones that blind me to the truth in every moment. It is what it is.

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  1. I’m constantly thrown by the simple wisdom of my children. They amaze me, and really do teach me lessons every day. I think it comes because they focus on the moment. The obvious. Sometimes as adults we miss the obvious. Motherhood has been very humbling for this reason.

    Lovely to see you over here Lindsey!

    Comment by Christine LaRocque — July 27, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  2. I know what you mean about silly adages, and I know what you mean about having them proven right! My best friend, Heidi, has three children, and one day her daughter said, “Mom, pay attention to me.” She responded, “I am.” And her daughter said, “No you aren’t. I can’t see your eyes.” And it’s so true, isn’t it? A kid’s world is so small — and that’s not a bad thing.

    Comment by Elizabeth@Life in Pencil — July 27, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  3. So happy to see Lindsey here! Whit and Grace are so wise beyond their years, I can’t get enough of her stories about them.

    Comment by Eva @ Eva Evolving — July 27, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  4. Children have a way of putting things in perspective. Sometimes I am in such a hurry, but my daughter slows me down, asking me questions about the most minute things. I don’t have all the answers, but I love the way she observes, the world is waiting for her the moment she puts her foot out the door.

    Congrats on your guest post.

    Comment by Rudri — July 27, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  5. <>

    I think I will tuck this one away and carry it with me awhile.

    Our children are our teachers, in infinite ways. We only have to turn to them, open our eyes, and **see**.

    Thank you for this lovely reminder, Lindsey. It’s a pleasure to see you guest posting here!!!

    Comment by Terresa Wellborn — July 27, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

  6. It really is incredible the lessons we can learn when we open our hearts and minds to the things our children say.
    Lovely, as always!

    Comment by Corinne — July 28, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  7. Your words, Lindsey, are just as beautiful here as at A Design So Vast. The common denominator, of course, is you.

    I’m grateful for your eyes, your view of the world, you perspective, your heart, and of course…the way you so eloquently, powerfully, and vulnerably share that with the rest of us.

    As always, I’m moved.

    (Thanks for having Lindsey here, Karen!)

    Comment by Ronna — July 28, 2010 @ 2:54 am

  8. Lovely lessons, Lindsey, and lovely to see you at this centering site, so thanks to Karen for hosting.

    Comment by Privilege of Parenting — July 28, 2010 @ 5:03 am

  9. Lovely post about the wisdom of our children. I had a peep at your own blog and you have some gorgeous photos there. Nice to “meet” you!

    Comment by Edith — July 28, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  10. Thanks for that. Very nice. My three year old is probably my best teacher. My wife a close second. We are lucky to have these kinds of people to enrich our lives and our practice.

    Comment by Paul Brennan — July 28, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  11. Beautifully written! As the mom of two teens, I’m constantly in awe of the moments that they seem to be more wise than me…

    Comment by Katrina — August 3, 2010 @ 10:44 am

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