“Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” ~ Ron Wild
So I’m sitting on the couch looking through Veranda magazine. It’s good to take a break from writing, but I sigh. What beautiful things…what unaffordable things! Still, I put the magazine down to indulge in a bit of daydreaming.
My 8 year old comes to investigate. Mom sitting down for a quiet moment always looks suspicious.
“What are you doing?” he asks.
“Oh, just dreaming about building this really cool house” I tell him.
He picks up the magazine on my lap and briefly leafs through it. No Legos or video games so he isn’t very impressed.
“What for?” he asks.
“What do you mean what for? I’m just thinking about a new house I’d like to have.”
“Is it expensive?” he asks. The little one is always very concerned about and mindful of money. He also knows mom’s tastes.
“Yes, I’m afraid it’s expensive. I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford a house like that, but who knows” I tell him.
“Don’t worry” he says, and puts his little hand on my head. “When I’m older and famous I will give you money. A million hundred thousands is enough money, right?”
There goes my little football player/rock star. He used to tell me he intends to be a champion football player from Monday through Thursday, and then the rest of the days be a famous singer in a band. And of course, make lots and lots of money to build mansions so as to have room to save ALL the animals, give lots of money to me, his grandmother, and maybe even his older brother, if he is nice.
A pause. I’m thinking we finished our conversation and so I close my eyes.
“But what are you going to put in it?” he starts suddenly.
I turn to look at him. That adorably serious face is irresistible. But why does he need to ask so many questions when I’m trying to get few minutes of rest?
“Well, some really nice furniture and things I like” I tell him.
“Hmm” he says and looks away. He’s so not done with the conversation.
“What?” I ask.
“That’s all you’re putting in that big house?” he looks at me as if I just threw away a gallon of his favorite ice cream.
“What else do you want me to put in it?” I ask.
“What about him (meaning my partner)? What about your children?” he says.
Aha! I know that tone and the emphasis on your children is a sure giveaway. It’s the start to let’s guilt mom into giving me something.
“Of course you’ll all be there with me you silly” I reassure him. “And no, you can’t have chocolate now”.
He giggles. I was right. He was after that second Dove bar hidden in my room.
“What about the pets?” he continues.
“And the pets too.” I tell him. “Maybe not so many though”.
He agrees. We do have a bit of a zoo theme going on, and as lovely as it is, the competition and territory issues cause some problems that require massive quantities of cleaning spray, Febreeze and paper towels.
“And I need to have a desktop in my room”, he adds. I agree. He smiles and lifts my arm, wraps it around him, and puts his head on my chest. His hair smells of fresh berries (the kids shampoo)… of cuddles and childhood. I offer kisses.
After a few minutes of delightful cuddling, in silence no less!, he sits up again and looks at me.
“Because you know mom, what’s the point to build a house and just have things in it” he tells me. “Can I go on your computer now?”
I smile and nod. And think these darn children are going to ruin my career and render me useless! Might as well let him write my blog posts.
Here I was, working all day on a piece about essence and structure in life, trying to explain the necessity of both, and the difference between them. How structure we can build, buy, change, repair, restore, adjust. But essence is, well, essential, not something that can be manufactured or bought, only nurtured so that it keeps growing. That essence is the only reason to build a structure in the first place, and also what provides the resources we need for the building itself.
You know me by now, I had a post five pages long, waiting to be edited and re-edited. And here comes my child to sum it all up in one sentence, one simple metaphor: “What is the point to build a house and just have things in it”.
Indeed. So much for adult struggles and dilemmas over priorities in life, over what is essential.