So four-year-old Sam and his parents are at the dinner table. Sam eats two bites of his meal and says, "I'm done!"
"Wait a minute," says his mother. "You need to eat more than that. Please eat four bites of this, and three bites of that, and then you can leave the table."
So Sam eats one bite of each food and says, "I'm done."
"No," says his mother, "not yet. I need for you to eat more dinner than that."
And Sam turns to her and says, "I recognize my own body, Mommy!"
Now there's a show-stopper! That's a pretty heavy thought for a four-year-old. I know some sixty-year-olds who still don't recognize their own bodies!
Of course, we don't know whether Sam actually does or whether he's parroting something he heard (and where on earth did he hear it?). Could his body actually be telling him that five bites of food will suffice to carry him through the night? Or is Sam just testing the waters again?
Olivia (Livvy) is now a very active eight-year-old with a beautiful smile. When Olivia is happy, she lights up the world. When she isn't, you know it. And the line between happy and unhappy is a very fine one.
Several months ago (Olivia was only seven at the time, if that makes any difference), Olivia's mother decided to rearrange the playroom. This is a large room at the side of the house that holds the computer, the television, a couch, and several containers of toys, including the dress-up box.
"No!" screams Livvy. "No! Don't change it! I hate it when you move things! Don't do it!"
She cried and screamed (big tears) for forty minutes, while her mother moved desks and couches and box after box of toys.
When the room was finished (and her mother doubly exhausted from having had to endure Livvy's protests at the same time), Olivia went into the newly arranged room and said, "This is really neat! I love it, Mommy!"
Rebuilding and redecorating after the fire at the restaurant (October 2006) took almost seven months. The children were busy with school and gymnastics and skating, so they didn't visit the restaurant very often as the renovation was happening.
Finally it was ready, and the family went downtown to see the new version of the family business: a moved entrance, new windows, a revised traffic flow, different placement of tables, and a whole new color scheme.
Livvy walked in, took one look, and began to cry. "I don't like it! I want our OLD restaurant! I don't want this one. I HATE it!" She cried for fifteen minutes, sobbing (big tears flowing from her lovely golden-hazel eyes). And then, as she and
Very few people really like change, despite its inevitability. But children really don't like change. And Olivia really, really doesn't like change. But a few tears later, she adjusts to the New Reality and that becomes the solid ground on which she stands.
We adults don't have it so simple, since our ultimate learning is that the solid ground is only fleetingly solid. Even as we gratefully stamp our feet on it and say, "HERE's what I like," it is preparing its next shift. The earthquakes can be large or small, they come and go, and we eventually know that our "solid ground" is actually just another tectonic plate on the move.
Change: yet another person is gone, vanished. Get used to it. Last week I learned of the deaths of a friend's sister, a client's mother, and the husband of a dear friend. That's a lot for a single week. Here today, gone tomorrow.
Change, change. Lord give me the strength to deal with change, and the wisdom to accept that change is all I'm ever going to see.
Copyright 2010 Ann Tudor