"My, how things have changed," I said last night as Margaret ran screaming from her brother, trying to avoid his nightly effort to give her a hug (his persistence very likely tied to her resistance). She careened into her room and closed the door just in time to escape his embrace. The exchange lasted only a few seconds, but it took me back to a much earlier incidence.
Back when Margaret was a preschooler, I read some parenting book that suggested that telling children their own stories thinly veiled as fiction helped them to work out worries and concerns. I made up stories about a little girl Margaret's age named Mary, who lived in South Carolina, not North, and had an older sister and brother. Whenever Margaret would get in trouble at school, Mary did too. When Margaret experienced disappointment, so did Mary. So when Margaret's brother was about to head to kindergarten, well naturally, Mary's was too.
At that point in her life, Margaret positively adored her older brother. He was her favorite playmate, the one who tipped her overflowing giggle box time and again. The thought of him being gone all day and away from her was just about more than she could stand.
"Margaret," I told her one day at nap time, "Mary's big brother is going to kindergarten next year." Margaret was settled in my lap, sucking her two middle fingers, her beloved pink blankie draped over her shoulder, Bear-bear tucked under her arm. Upon hearing this remarkable news, she turned to me, her eyes wide.
"My brother's going to kindergarten too!" She said, acknowledging the incredible coincidence.
"He sure is. How do you suppose Mary feels about this?"
She pulled her fingers from her mouth momentarily for her one word response. "Bad."
"I bet she does, Margaret. Can you think of something that would help Mary feel better?"
Margaret was in no hurry to give her answer. She thought for a minute or so, then solemnly declared, "She should go in her room, and cwose the door, and cwy and cwy, and cwy."
Memories. May I never take them for granted.
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.
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