Monday, November 13, 2017

Pancakes Don't Have Feelings #SOL17

"Pancakes don't have feelings," my four year old daughter, Megan, chides me as I wash off the dishes.

I had just tried to guilt her into eating more piece of the pancake cut on her plate. I probably said something to the effect of, "Oh, the pancakes all want a turn to be eaten! They feel sad you aren't eating them." 

Megan was onto me, but assigning feelings to inanimate objects is something I've been doing my whole life. My sister's toast at my wedding referenced how I used to cry when she would kick pinecones at the park because I thought she was separating them from their families. (Ahem. I really thought that.) Oh, how she would gleefully kick the pinecones while saying, "Oh, no, my baby!" and "Mama pinecone, where are you?" I would cry, and scurry to put the pinecones back to where they sat before they were disturbed.

Megan would have said, "Pinecones don't have feelings." 

And so, they don't. But what if they did? What if we thought about everything we encountered as having feelings and a story? 

Last night I read Megan the brilliant book A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young. It's such a clever book and Megan really gets it, laughing belly laughs at some of the scenes. But, also, we could empathize with how the goat (I mean unicorn) felt at certain parts. Reading the book and feeling sorry for "Sparkle" reminded me of the pancakes and the pinecones and thinking everything has feelings. 

I got that from being a reader. Reading has made me a person who can feel the pain of a goat trying to be a unicorn. Reading was responsible for making me imagine pinecones wanted to stay with each other on a park path. Reading helps you see the story in everything you encounter. And knowing a person's story is the first step in showing compassion and kindness. 

What I'm passing onto my children isn't great culinary skills (I microwaved the frozen pancakes) or a myriad of other talents I don't possess. But I am passing on a love of reading, of belly laughing when a goat trying to be a unicorn lets out a little toot, and understanding that all things and people have stories. We can let those stories touch our heart and change the way we live. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Love is #SOL17

Love is
sitting on the floor
inside a steamy 
indoor pool
because your 4 year old
taking swimming lessons
is afraid and
wants you there.

Love is
sitting on a chair
on a rainy, gray soccer field
when you have 
stacks of work to do
because your son
loves when you come
to his games.

Love is 
resisting every little
Halloween candy
and all the donuts
and treats left
in the faculty room
because you deserve
to look and feel 
your best.

Love is
calling your representative
signing petitions
and voting
because you cannot
stand by
while people are gunned down
in schools
in churches
in movie theaters
in playgrounds
at concerts.
Love is wishing 
you could do more.

Love is 
saying no to your child
because another cookie
or another tv show
or another toy
will be bad for them
even though they 
don't understand that
and you seem mean. 

Love is 
making them say "thank you"
and making them
brush their teeth
and making them
put their own shoes away. 
Love is 
helping them be
the best people 
they can be. 

Love is
bringing the shopping cart back.

Love is 
listening when you would rather talk.

Love is
making the phone call instead of texting.

Love is
knowing your heart
could be smashed
into million pieces
by life's unpredictability
and cruelty,
but loving anyway
truly
madly
deeply
because what would
life be
without love? 

Love is
courage
hope
kindness.

Love is
needed.