Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Bead in the Hand

I hear people say all the time that they wish they could be a carefree kid again. I always nod like I know what they're talking about, but truly I don't. Carefree is not how I would describe my childhood personality. I often wonder how far back I would have to go to find carefree. Five? Three? Two? Do you remember what it was like to be carefree? Before things like responsibility, worry, guilt and fear nudged their way into that space?

This week, I found it. Not by reliving my childhood--as that's not even possible, much less desirable--but by being present for someone else's:

As I studied this little face, so bent on concentration, I saw something so much bigger than the task of putting a plastic bead on a string. I saw that the bead was my child's only care in the world.

Can you imagine? One tiny bead, his only worry. The one slid on the string beforehand was already forgotten; the one he will put on next--not even a thought yet.

Translated into adult language: I can guarantee you he wasn't sitting there letting his mind wander to the playground this morning, torturing himself with thoughts of "If I would have only got to the swing first, I could have rode it longer." Or "If I would have just not thrown sand in my brother's hair, mom would have given me that cookie. I'm such a baby." Or "Maybe I can put these beads on faster and then maybe the next thing we do won't be so tedious. OOO, I wonder what the next thing is?"

That would suck the fun right out of stringing this bead, wouldn't it?

So, go ahead--plan for the future, learn from the past...but give the bead between your fingers some attention, too.

(Thanks for the reminder, boys)


Anonymous said...

Oh wow. So this is why I'm up in the middle of the night. To get my prize. Thank you.

Shannon said...

I would say you're welcome, but I realize that thank YOU is more appropriate. Seeds--the gifts that keep on giving...the true circle of life.

village mama said...

I really appreciate your wondrous tone on this post; and I love the close up of that adorable hand!

Shawn said...

Beads in play doh ... why the heck didn't I think of that?????

What a cutie. I love to see faces on a mission like that.

Lovely pictures. Thank you for this reminder about not putting too much pressure on the little heads in my house.

Kisatrtle said...

Read your post at just the right moment. Great pics.

Tia Nevitt said...

Like Karen said: wow. That was wonderful. Great pics!

Shannon said...

Hi, Village Mama :-) Thanks, I'm really having a lot fun with the photography right now and playing around in photoshop.

Shawn- Yeah, I'm going to look and see if there's some kind of clay that they can stick stuff into and make bowls or something. They liked that.

kisatrtle- And that makes it worth while :-) Thanks for stopping in.

Michie said...

That was a great post. I need to learn to live in the moment now - guess I should think like a kid more. :)

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be a child again. I don't think children are ever without worry, I seem to remember always worrying about something from day to day. Whether it was parents, school, friends, enemies, teachers, grades, you name it... there is always something on a childs mind. I think the engeniousness of the childs mind is the ability to not worry about all these things all the time. I seem to remember worrying about something that was going to happen that day, maybe in the most extreme situation, the next day. I never had to worry about long term things like jobs, finances, and the fun killer - responsibility. I also seem to remember there being a certain charm to things being out of your control. You could worry about something, but perhaps, in the end, you knew you would be provided for... not sure when exactly this all changed, but would go back at any time

Shelli said...

Beautiful photos! It makes me so happy to watch my son and know that right now, his only care is in the present moment.

Anonymous said...

My childhood, like yours, Shannon, was anything BUT carefree. However, you've found the perfect way to transport yourself. I do the same through my pups, and am blessed every day with being a truly carefree adult. Thanks for bringing it into our consciousness once more.

bella said...

love this, love this, love this.
I did not know carefree as a child. For reasons unknown, it was not mine to have, the family I was born into.
But I have seen it, come to know it with Leo. Jut to watch him so serious and focussed in play, unconcerned with anything else, it takes my breath away. he is my teacher.