The Sweetest Thing

Although it seems like eons ago, I remember being pregnant with my daughter. I remember those months of waiting, anticipating, worrying, and wondering. What would she look like? What would she be like? Would she have my laugh and her father’s head for math and directions? No, seriously … It seems like a silly thing, but a good sense of direction is important in life. I have been known to get completely turned around in the city in which I lived for a number of years. My father always told me I could get lost in a wet paper bag.

We all want the best of everything for our children. We probably wouldn’t ever admit this out loud, but we want them to be more beautiful than we ever were. We want then to be smarter. We want them to feel they can dangle the world at the end of their own, personal bit of string, like a giant yo-yo. I wanted these things, too. I dreamed and planned and worried and wondered my way through every moment of every day of every month of my pregnancy. Life is so much scarier when you let go of the illusion that you have any form of control over anything that happens to you. I think this goes double — or maybe quadruple — when it comes to your child. Or even the thought of having children. Let’s face it: just the thought of having a child, of bringing an innocent life into this crap-fest of a world that seems to surround us these days, is downright panic-inducing.

In the end, I was lucky and blessed. My child is smart. And beautiful. And funny. And seems to make friends easily — a feat I never managed to accomplish. Whenever I get lost, she can usually tell me how to get back home, so I feel we scored one from the universe on that count, too. What more could a parent want?

my parents and daughter, as a toddlerToday, my kiddo and I went for a walk after school. This is a fun activity, which usually involves lots of sweating and huffing-puffing on my part and lots of excited chatter on hers as she tells me about her day at school. I love it. But today, my daughter was quieter than usual. Several times, she fell behind as I continued to forge ahead, intent on getting in my exercise time.

“Wait for me, Mama!” I heard her call after the second or third time.

Impatiently, I rolled my eyes and turned around to see her kneeling in the middle of the sun-baked sidewalk, her attention focused on something in front of her. I whispered under my breath for her to hurry the heck up as I paced back and forth in an attempt to stave off the hordes of gnats that had swarmed me as soon as I stopped moving. Didn’t she realize I was exercising here? Didn’t she know I couldn’t stop? That my time was valuable?

As I watched, she picked up a teeny twig and prodded at something on the sidewalk. I guess she sensed me looking at her, because she glanced up with an apologetic little smile on her face. “I’m sorry it’s taking so long,” she said. “I just feel sorry for them when they get stuck out in the hot or get stepped on.”

And that’s when I realized: She had been stopping for the earthworms. They had been forced out of the grass by a recent rain and then gotten stuck in the middle of the sidewalk when the sun came back out. Much like the grinch, I felt my heart grow about three sizes bigger in that instant. Did it really matter if I got my entire walk in today? Did it really matter if I finished quickly or took a bit more time? Did I really need to be so impatient?

“It’s all right, sweetie,” I told her. “Use this piece of bark. It’ll be easier for him to crawl onto it.”

I watched as she angled the piece of bark “just right”. She held it steady, holding her breath, as she waited for the worm to find his way onto it. And then, once she had her precious cargo in place, she gently moved him over to a shady spot on the nearest patch of grass.

It was such a little thing. It was just a worm. But, sometimes, the smallest acts of compassion seem to be beautiful and larger than life. Physical beauty will fade in time. Maybe intelligence will, too. Friends will come and go along the way. But compassion … If that stays with my girl, I think she will be all right. And, perhaps, the world will be a better place, too. I know my corner of it is. That’sΒ the sweetest gift of all.

 

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103 thoughts on “The Sweetest Thing

  1. I so agree. I want my children to do well in whatever they choose, but mostly, I want them to be kind, and to have a sense of humour. This is a lovely story. Thanks so much for sharing it, and well done on instilling such wonderful qualities in your child πŸ™‚

    • Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by to read, and for your kind words. I couldn’t agree more that kindness and a sense of humor are two of the most important qualities in life. I hope for my daughter to have both of these things.

  2. I have a son, who just turned two, and he is my light when I’m in the dark. One of my biggest wishes for him is that he grows up to be a kind person, and I think that kind of goes hand in glove with the compassion that your daughter exhibited. Here’s hoping our children become — and stay — good people. All the best to you and your family. πŸ™‚

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by and for reading. It always floors me when I look at my daughter and realize what a wonderful, good, and kind person she is inside. Sure, she has her “stinker” moments — don’t we all? (ha, ha πŸ™‚ ) But she constantly amazes me with her compassion and her openness toward the world. I think I learn more from her than she ever learns from me. All the best to you and your beautiful son!

  3. I’m having shivers as I read this. i love it! It makes me feel how wonderful it is to be a mother, and I suddenly get excited when my turn will be. Thank you for this beautiful post and congratulations to your daughter! πŸ™‚

    • Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by, for reading, and for your kind comment. I appreciate it. I’m very happy you enjoyed this entry. I wish you all the best and many blessings for the day when it’s your turn to be a mom.

    • Isn’t it stunning and even a little bit scary to realize how very sweet and compassionate our kiddos are? I love how my daughter, even at ten, is still so innocent and open to the world around her. And she feels things so deeply. This makes me proud of her, and it makes me afraid for her, all at the same time. I guess that’s part of being a mom. Thank you so much for stopping by and for reading. πŸ™‚

    • Hi! Thanks! I really wanted to hurry up, though — ha, ha. I guess we all have those moments in us, but I’m glad this particular moment turned out to be a good and sweet memory. At least for me. I’m not sure my daughter will particularly remember it. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and thanks for your kind comment.

  4. “Let’s face it: just the thought of having a child, of bringing an innocent life into this crap-fest of a world that seems to surround us these days, is downright panic-inducing.”

    This is something that really resonated with me because it’s something I ponder often. However, I think your story is a testament that, yes, some people should bring children into this shit-fest, at least people like you. It’s clear that you’ve taught your daughter well, and it’s clear that you are very self-reflective, probably much of why you’ve taught your daughter well. So thank you for making this world a little less crappy!

    • Awww, thank you so much. Your kind comment brought a tear to my eye as I read it. I wasn’t a person who thought much about having kids when I was younger. In fact, I planned on not having any. But I’m so thankful, every day, that I changed my mind. And I hope and pray, each day, that I can be the mom my daughter needs. I feel like I fall short often, but I guess the important thing is to keep on trying. Thanks so much for stopping by to read, and for your kind comment. πŸ™‚

    • Wow, yes! I agree completely. I feel like I have learned much more from my daughter than she could ever learn from me. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read, and thank you for your kind comment. I am very happy you enjoyed the post.

    • She really is a lovely and kind girl. Sometimes a stinker, too, but aren’t we all? (ha, ha!) I think it’s the small moments that resonate the most and create the most beautiful memories. And they often happen when least expected. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read, and for your lovely comment.

  5. Reblogged this on All Things Human and commented:
    Sometimes, the smallest acts of compassion seem to be beautiful and larger than life. Physical beauty will fade in time. Maybe intelligence will, too. Friends will come and go along the way. But compassion … If that stays with my girl, I think she will be all right. And, perhaps, the world will be a better place, too. I know my corner of it is. That’sΒ the sweetest gift of all.

  6. Loved reading this. We live in a fast-paced society but it’s good to take some extra time once in a while and enjoy little moments. It makes life so much better.

    • It is nice to slow down sometimes. And I think it’s hard to remember that we need to slow down, too. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read, and thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate it.

    • Ha, ha! Thanks so much! Summer kind of snuck up on me and kept me away from my blog for quite a long time. I stumbled in here a few days ago and was like: “What the HECK is going on?” I hardly ever get more than a few comments or likes. I couldn’t imagine what in the world had happened to cause so much extra activity in here. I never expected to get “freshly pressed”. So it was a fun little surprise. Thanks for stopping by to read, too! πŸ™‚

  7. Reblogged this on gdassociatesny and commented:
    Your reflection is lovely and causes me to think back on the birth of my children and the ensuing years parenthood.

    Thank you for reminding us of the innocence, wonder and compassion of being a child.

    We will share “The Sweetest Thing”, in hopes that it will help make the world a better place by restoring this sweet gift to all.

    • Ha, ha! This made me smile! I grew up in S. Texas, so it was hot with little rain, and we had very rocky soil. So no earthworms. I don’t think I would have tried to save them as a kid. Or catch them. I would have felt really bad for them but probably been too afraid to touch them at all. My daughter is definitely braver than I am. Thanks for stopping by to read, and for your comment.

    • What a beautiful and sweet sentiment. And I couldn’t agree with it more. Each and every one is a blessing and a hope for a better future. Thanks for stopping by to read and for your kind comment.

    • Yeah, I never had to deal with earthworms as a kid. I grew up in a place with very rocky soil. As an adult, I have to admit I didn’t take much notice of them. It’s a small and lovely thing that she pointed out to me. Thanks for stopping by to read and for your kind comment.

  8. This relates me to so much, not that i have a kid or anything yet, but just imagining what the future is like. I’ve thought about different situations and just thinking of all the different outcomes there are. It’s the little things that matter the most, and I agree that’s the sweetest gift of all!

    • Thanks for your kind comment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and that you felt you could relate to it. I do think the smallest things and the quietest moments in life are often the best and most memorable. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.

  9. It’s such a precious gift when our children get us to slow down and see the world in the same fresh & innocent way that comes so naturally for them. I’m so glad that you took the time to cherish this sweet moment with your daughter, and appreciate what it says about her sweet little heart.

    • Oh, yes! I could not agree with you more. I think that’s the most wonderful thing about having a child: those chances where we get to slow down and look at the world through their eyes. Especially when we feel frazzled and in a rush. I think those are the times when I end up appreciating it the most. Thanks for stopping by to read, and for your kind comment.

    • Thank you! I agree that these are qualities that should be nurtured and encouraged. I hope that these kind feelings will always stay with my daughter. Thanks for your kind comment and for taking the time to stop by and read my post.

    • Hello, Dear Friend! It’s wonderful to hear from you. I hope things are going well for you and for your blog. I feel like I have been away from my blog for way too long. The summer was too busy.

      Thank you, as always, for your lovely and kind comment. And for your support.

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