Yesterday, my kids didn’t have school, but I still had to work.
I found myself expending a lot of energy, shushing them. I woke up today in a fog of guilt and these words screaming from my fingertips.
This is for all of us, as parents, as children, as people searching for the child who dwells inside of us; silently curled in a ball, waiting patiently, until we give him or her permission to come out and play.
I encouraged them to talk.
Now, I tell them to be quiet.
I encouraged them to walk.
Now, I tell them to slow down.
I encouraged them to play.
Now, I tell them to do their homework.
I encouraged them to explore.
Now, I tell them to stop touching this or that.
I encouraged them to get dirty.
Now, I tell them to go shower.
I encouraged them to splash.
Now, I tell them to wipe up their mess.
I encouraged them to be my playmate
Now, I tell them to give me a minute while I finish my work.
I taught them to tell time.
Now, they worry about being late.
I taught them not to talk to strangers.
Now, they are scared of their fellow man.
I taught them how to be a grown up.
Now, they are no longer children.
I’m the one who took their innocence.
Now, they will spend their lives in search of it,
And hopefully, over time,
They will encourage themselves…
To speak loudly,
To run like the wind,
To play without a time limit,
To explore without fear,
To dig their hearts into the soil of life,
To take the hand of a stranger who needs a friend,
To splash in the puddles G-d made,
All the while,
Rejoicing in the freedom of their childhood:
And with forgiveness as their childish faith,
They will pardon me,
Their mother, for giving it,
And then, taking it all away.