Kids, huh?

Let’s not sell the young short. There’s a lot you can learn from them, whether they’re little OR big.

It was from the young that I learned how easy it is to push a keychain with its small silver beads far back enough in your nose that you can then reach toward the back of your throat and – Presto! – pull it out of your mouth. Sure, it takes some convulsive gulping but it can be done.

You can also press “Play” on your iPod, insert the two ‘ear buds’ of your headset into your nostrils and say “Ah” and yup, there’s another pharynx trick: the music rolls right out over your tongue.

Some of these things I have learned from my own kids, some from the ever-renewing crop of teenagers I work with in my volunteer time.

My own kids are grown now and gone from the nest, I should explain, but I have a really good memory. And between what I remember learning from them and what I remember learning from these many other young people, I have a whole headful of lessons.

For example, from the VERY young I have learned that as a specimen anyway, I am vastly interesting.

Not as an individual, mind you, but as a specimen.

And as any little child can demonstrate, you are interesting too.

Just think what they do when you hold them:  They look in your ears. They tug on your hair to see if it’s stuck down.  They put their fingers in your mouth, perhaps asking themselves if a career in the oral health field holds any appeal for them.

Because he was our last and had two older sisters and four or five honorary siblings, our youngest child, pictured here, grew up with a blizzard of talk around him.

This meant that from toddlerhood on, he gave voice to his every thought.

“I love your nice fat arms!” he said to me once, squeezing the place where my biceps would have been if I’d had any biceps.

Another time he returned to our towel at the beach, looked down at what I had vainly imagined were my attractive Coppertone-slicked legs and said, “Your thighs look like hot dogs.”

Learning to befriend my extra flesh was his gift to me.

.Reminding you of your place in the universe is another such gift.

Fret aloud about your appearance and one of them is sure to look at you with pity.

“Mum, it’s fine” he or she will say. “Nobody’s going to be looking at you!” And yet they speak the words so kindly, even lovingly – often with little pats to your arm.

Really what they are saying is that you don’t have to be ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ and only think what effort this knowledge will spare you in the end!

I am happy to know that if I ever trot out my old platform shoes, or my college bell-bottoms, or God forbid, that halter top fashioned from two scarves, they will gently distract me and hide all three items.

One day last summer when we were all together as a family, I pointed to the skin on my arms, now crisscrossed with tiny fine wrinkles.

“Look!” I said turning to one of my girls. “My arms are starting to look like Grandma’s arms!”

“I know,” she said with the most loving smile. “Isn’t it great?”

I got her meaning right away because it is great. Of course it’s great.

 Because only the lucky grow old. And the really lucky get to know a few young ones, whose high spirits can gladden any heart.

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5 thoughts on “Kids, huh?

  1. This is lovely. I love the way kids will stare at you. Not put off by the fact that it is supposed to be rude to stare. I love the way that they do this because they are taking you all in, rather than be put off by what is polite. Great post.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. Being a mom, I truly appreciate these experiences. I still hear ” Why do you care how you look? Nobody is going to be looking at you!” I always thought it to be insulting, but your take on it has given me a different perspective. Thank you.

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