Monday, December 27, 2010


 There must be something in a child’s chemical make-up that with perfect harmony joins their facial muscles to the muscles of their body and vocal chords.  I think we lose this as we get older. I’m not talking about the pout of a teenager. Oh no. A teenage pout is something we never lose. The exaggerated arm movements, the strained voice, that exhale that would power a fleet of tall ships with their sails straining to contain the breath’s power. Oh no, we never lose that as an adult, the struggle for freedom thwarted.

I also don’t mean the tantrum a child flows in and out of like a professional basketball or soccer player who is suddenly on death’s door with an injury. When the penalty is awarded they leap up and score the winning goal. An amazing power of recovery. No we don’t lose this ability as adults either. Well, some of us have learned to lower our voices, tone down the red face but the tantrum is still there. Someone will not let us have our way and by gosh, they’re going to pay….until we get our way, greed.

No, only a child’s body and soul can create this look, sound and movement. Their eyes grow wide and big and they pierce through your own eyes.  Their shoulders drop, their bodies somehow become both rigid and totally placid as they look up at you. There is no resistance, just a quiet look and a whispered “no” or “why?” or, the piece de resistance, “o-Kay.”  There are variations of this theme, but I think you’ll know the look, the dance and the song. You wish they would go into a tantrum or slam their door like a teenager with the requisite exhale. You could respond then. You would have been provoked. But this, no this is perfect resistance that you cannot defend. In fact, more often than not, it will cause your heart to melt or at least question whether you are the one being unreasonable. It is pure innocence, honest emotion and an unshielded tender heart.

As my shoulders sank into my rib cage, I reminded myself it was a good idea. It was necessary. You’ve put it off too long.  If I could have, I would have knelt down, placed her hands in mine, met her gaze and winked. “C’mon sweetheart, I promise, if not fun, you’ll at least learn stuff and get to see new things, O-kay?” Alas, one cannot kneel down and take your hands as a child into your now adult hands. You can only sit, be quiet and listen, especially if it has been a long time since the two of you talked. Sort of like the Little Prince and the fox, you may have to engage in some ‘taming’ first.

Like a blind date, we sat in silence wondering if we could find something in common. At last I heard the soft voice whisper “I’m sorry you thought me so strong.”  With those seven words the wax of soon fifty seven years melted downward upon the wick, almost extinguishing the flame.  Two hundred twenty four seasons of have to’s, must do’s, responsibilities, need to’s, learn this, do this, take care of, insert whatever label you wish,  lay before me in the silence that fell after those seven words. The calculator crunched and the total printed – the don’ts outnumbered the do’s.  I had set my face towards the world and neglected the face within.  I was "strong" and would plow through all before me and help others to see, never realizing the eyes once walking with me were drifting further and further back, until out of sight.

I felt my eyes grow soft, wide, piercing through to the dawn’s blush, as my body became both rigid and placid. A whisper kissed my lips, ‘o-Kay’ and the heart giggled.