Friday, 14 January 2011

Through The Eyes of Children III

This post follows on from other ruminations along the same lines:

It is perhaps an interesting coincidence of timing that I should have cause to notice the world through my daughters' eyes, given that this post lands almost a year to the day after the first such offering. 

Yesterday was one of those days when the perspective of a child jumped up in front of me when least expected, overwhelmed me, and has taught me about the absolute purity of a child-like view of the world. I am reminded from time to time that children of just about any age 'get it' in a way that adults do not, and yesterday was one such occasion. 

The Twins Aculae are very different, in personality if not in looks. Jessica is like a puppy: very bouncy, very exuberant, easily knocked, overflowing with effervescent emotion, 'heart on sleeve' merchant, and in many ways 'Tigger like'. Rebekah is very different. She is considerably more reflective, ponderous, gives little away, hates to feel embarrassed, a wicked mimic. Where Jessica loves to sing, Rebekah finds most pleasure in dancing. If Jessica is a tap for emotion and feelings, Rebekah - not unlike a cat - is a cool customer, and very much a sponge for emotion and feeling. She soaks it up and eventually, it all emerges after much thought. All this, and they are still only three years old. 

I returned from a funeral yesterday, and Rebekah sidled up with a look of mourning etched across her face. She asked me if I wanted to hear a song about why she was sad. 'Of course', I said, 'but then can I try to make you happy afterwards?' said I, like a 'fixing' bloke. She declined the offer, and told me that she was sad that Father Christmas was gone. She sang her song. Lyrically, it was what you would expect of a kid of three (partly repetitive, partly nonsense, always the very crux of the matter), but tunefully it was beautiful, stunning even. It was a lament. It was a melancholy song which conveyed her emotion so powerfully. I wish I had been able to record it. You'd all be weeping just about now. 

She is pre-occupied with death and dying at the moment. Not in a mardy gruesome way, but in a caring way. 'Did you have a daddy, Daddy?', 'yes, baby, why do you ask?' 'What was his name?', she replied. 'Norman', said I. 'Is your daddy dead?', 'Yes, darling he is'. 'Where is he now?' she continued. 'In Heaven with Great-grandma and Dante [the rabbit]'. 'And Charlie the Dog [our friend Mavis' hound]?' 'Yes, love'. 'Does that mean that you don't have a daddy now?' she asked. 'I will always have a daddy, but he is somewhere else for now'. 'Is that your daddy?', she asked, pointing at a picture of a man I have never mentioned, that resides close to my computer screen. 'Yes, that is my daddy'. 'Can I see him? He has a nice smile.' 'Not really, darling, my daddy is in heaven'. 'So I can meet him in Heaven then?' she replied. 'Yes, he would like that too'. 

As I have said before, these exchanges happen at odd and unexpected times in any given day. I opt for simple honesty as she has a knack of remembering every word uttered on the subject. However, I am not sure I will ever forget the moment that I listened for so long to a Lament for Father Christmas. Let's face it, even the most cynical of us, if we allowed ourselves, would share that view once or twice. 

1 comment:

  1. David - you just made me cry - thank you !

    Reminds me of a few weeks before Christmas when our cat died. I was dreading telling Ferdi (4) but he took it entirely in his stride and responded initially with "So Katies in heaven now - that will be nice for her".

    An hour or so later he siddled back up to me (they always do when they've been pondering don't they) He asked "mummy, will Katie be a kitten again in heaven?" " I don't know darling, why ?" "well if Katie is a kitten again, maybe she could go live with Clives Mummy and Daddy and make them happy"."Can I tell Clive that Katie has gone to live with his mummy so that he can stop being sad?"

    Clive, our Church Warden lost his mum (who he lived with) unexpectedly in May last year.

    The world is so much better when you have a childs perspective and I sometimes hope that God gets moments like those from some of His grown up children.



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