Small

small bun

My niece is on summer break now, and already moping around the house with a slow slouch that only a child can manage. I’m a firm believer in allowing boredom to run its course. It’s not my job to entertain, although I do leave random books and art supplies on flat surfaces around the house. She’s at an age where toys aren’t as fun, but the urge to play is still there. That’s a tough transition for a kid.

I was sitting on the back porch this morning having tea and watching the backyard bunnies run amok in the sunrise, when my niece quietly slipped out and sat next to me. We didn’t speak for a while, and then she whispered, “They’re just so small. I thought I was small.” And with that she wandered back inside and picked up a book.

I’d set out Watership Down thinking if she picked it up, it would be good for at least a couple of weeks of peace. I was younger than my niece when I read it, and I can remember precisely how my heart felt when I put it down.

I remember thinking, they’re just so small.

My niece has dealt with a lot. She lost her father when she was only six, and has lived with the real worry of losing her mom for the past two years. She’s dealt with some pretty adult issues, but is still just a kid. It’s a strange dichotomy that makes her both weary and curious at the same time.

I try to remind her to live in this moment, the one that matters the most. And at this moment, she’s mindlessly twirling a lock of hair around her finger and her lips are moving as she reads about the warrens of bunnies and their adventures. She’s got her feet tucked under her and my dog is curled up beside her. She is precious.

And she’s still so small.

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3 thoughts on “Small

  1. I’m not over childproof at my condo, but over the years when I watch a relative, she is now 6, I give her little “diaries” with a regular pencil and colored pencils and encourage her to write “books” and illustrate them, she does poems and songs too. It may be selective to the child, but to this one, its hours worth of entertainment. When she was three she wrote her first song, “peanut butter, peanut butter, sitting on the tracks, peaaaaanuuuuut butter! Choo!Choo!” Not sure of its deeply hidden meaning but it’s a cork all the same. We still sing it. ;)

    You are good. You teach your niece the world won’t wait to entertain her, that the greatest entertainment is found from within. :) Thank you for giving us a child who will not later succumb to the boredom’s of the world.

  2. I’m once again touched by your words and pictures. My three kids are now on the precipice of adulthood, but I remember when they were young feeling so guilty whenever they said they were bored. At first I wanted to scold you for not actively engaging your niece to “fix the problem.” (Very judgmental of me, I know.) But as usual, you made me think about a subject in a different way than usual. I ended up feeling that it’s much better to let her find creative ways to deal with it, rather than expect that someone else will always end up entertaining her.

  3. It never goes away, really. That feeling. We’re all so small and trying so hard not to let the Woundworts of the world defeat us. I suspect your niece will find her own primrose path. If nothing else, she has someone who knew enough to leave Watership Down laying around to be discovered.

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