Thursday, May 5, 2011

Under Protection

My 8 yr old is doing her homework, which consists of putting vocabulary words into sentences. She stops writing and looks up at me. More often than not, she's in a dream state but at this moment her eyes are focused, lit up like headlamps in the middle of the night. "Mom, did you know that sometimes when you hear a sentence, you want to hear the whole story?"

I stop whatever it is I'm doing and study her. Is this something her teacher told her or am I experiencing her epiphany?

"Do you want to hear my sentence."

I want to shout, "Does a woman crap when she's giving birth?!" Instead I nod enthusiastically.

"Across the road there was a sidewalk and on that sidewalk was a mysterious box." Her voice is raspy and she injects each word with a heavy dose of cryptic rhythms.

The child is in elementary school and already knows about hooking a reader. Is that unusual? I'm tempted to say no. Most children, if left to their own abandon, often create spot-on, highly descriptive pictures of an imaginary world. So, what happens to these voices? What happens to one's song? How does it get stifled or, worse, extinguished? Is it one person who undermines our natural ability to express? Or is it a combination of negative experiences?

As if reading my mind, my daughter wants to know why it has taken me 40 some odd years to get cracking with a pen. I tell her that when I was younger I loved to write but that something happened to squelch it.

"What?" she demands.

Um, I don't know. I think I had a bad teacher.

She picks up her pen to finish her homework. After a few moments she looks up at me.

"I'm never going to let anyone stop me from writing. Ever."

Her words hit me with unexpected emotion. I don't think I've ever been more proud. I only hope she's right.


  1. We could all learn a lesson from her. For me I could add to the end of that sentence "not even myself."

  2. On the same wave, my friend.

    Her extraordinary rocks. That's the future generation. Love.

    My son in kindergarten has to write a sentence (his journal) on a piece of paper every day in his class. During the teacher conference, she told me that his are really complex for his age group. But the last one was just one sentence. "I M Awsum!" I started laughing when I saw it, and he all smiles said "I didn't get time to draw the picture." There's a space above for your drawing of the sentence. I asked what the picture would be. He raised his fist in the air, closed his eyes, lifted his chin to the skies and shouted "Mwahahahaha!" Then looked at me in all seriousness and said, "No time to draw my mad scientist laugh."

    Oh yeah.

  3. My daughter is always demanding to know why I haven't published a book. To her, it's easy and obvious. To me, not so much.

  4. Oh my God. Hug this child, right now, for me!

    You're tempted to say this ability is unusual? Hell yes, it's unusual! It's off-the-charts fabulous!

    And she has YOU as her mentor. Yes, she may someday encounter some teacher or peer who tells her that her writing isn't good enough.

    But she has you.

    Carry on, my friend.

  5. I'd say you now have an entire posse to help see to it that no one stops your very perceptive budding author from doing what she does - write.

    What a wonderful glimpse into the development of another creative individual.

  6. Oh MSB, and Lyra, may my daughter have the awesomeness of your kids :o).
    She has already learned that she gets an amusing reaction if she blows when breastfeeding to make a very loud fart noise! The stage may beckon...

  7. I'm trying to make me way back to that . . . imitating my kids helps a lot.

  8. Hot DAMN. I want to swoop down on this child and press kisses all over her face.