Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Greatest of These...

Youngest daughter with the Bean and the Sprout.
 This is my youngest daughter's birth month. I remember her as a little blonde-haired girl with a jack-o-lantern smile, her tooth held tightly in the palm of her hand as she climbed the stairs to bed.

“How does the tooth fairy know my tooth fell out?” she asked, tucking it under her pillow.

“Fairies just know these things,” I assured her. “It’s their job.”

Late that night when she was sound asleep I tiptoed into her room and exchanged the tooth for a shiny quarter. “Understand sweet girl,” I whispered, “that fairies come in all sorts of guises.”

She was a serious child who asked why more often than her siblings. As my youngest, she and I spent whole days together while the older kids were in school. We would wander through the woods looking for elves and gnomes, flop down among the wildflowers in a meadow and cloud gaze, race rainstorms home across the hill and make angels when winter snows fell deep. She would look at me and wonder what held up the clouds, what made the snow fall down, and what caused the wind to blow. We would hold hands and together we’d look out at the world in awe.

In any relationship, the one who teaches and the one who learns constantly change places. Being a mother has allowed me to experience both ends of the emotional spectrum—deep joy and profound fear. There were times when I had to deliberately choose joy over fear or I never would have allowed my children out of my sight.

Now that this youngest child has two daughters of her own and as I spend time with them, I realize more than ever that choosing joy is the same as choosing love. If there is a constant in my life with my children and grandchildren, it is love—love without condition, without limit, and without end.


Brian Miller said...

so true on the teacher and student changing places...i often learn much from my boys...and happy birthday to your daughter....smiles.

Molly said...

Beautiful..... One of the hardest things about having adult children is that it's out of our hands now....When they are little it 's easy to keep them near and safe. Not so much when they're all grown up and far away. So faith and love......mega doses daily.

Tabor said...

Oh yes. Very much!

Barbara Shallue said...

Amen! And happy birthday to your daughter!!

Judith said...

What a beautiful piece, Pauline. A tribute to the three generations of women, Mamma Bear, Cassie, her Bean and her Sprout.
And what a lucky women she is to have grown up with you as her mother, with the gifts of imagination and empathy and love of nature, to name just a few.

J Cosmo Newbery said...


Pauline said...

Brian - I'm still learning with the grands :)

Molly, I agree. I still worry about my grown kids and I still have give mega doses of love daily

Thanks, Tabor

Barbara - she's a Thanksgiving baby. We have a lot to be thankful for

J - you always manage to make me feel really good about myself - thanks :)

JCN - thanks.

Kerry said...

I get a really full and satisfying feeling from reading this, as though Ive just eaten up a portion of wisdom.

Pauline said...

Thank you Kerry! I don't know how wise I am but I know that loving and being willing to learn make life better.

Peter Bryenton said...