A friend sent me an excerpt from a book I have just ordered called “The Conscious Parent.” By Shefali Tsabary, PhD. A book I absolutely cannot wait to begin. One of the passages struck me so deeply that I began to weep when I saw the words printed in black and white.
“Whether you have an infant or a teen, your children need to feel that just because they exist, they delight you. They need to know that they don’t have to do anything to earn your undivided attention. They deserve to feel as if just by being born, they have earned the right to be adored….Children who grow up with an intrinsic sense of ‘rightness,’ become adults who forever carry the imprint of of inner connection.”
Those beautiful words came to me at precisely the moment I needed them. The other day, I came across a series of short videos of my children that I have recorded over the years. Videos I had forgotten about entirely. I sat alone and watched every single one.
Smiling. Crying. Remembering.
My favorite one was a short clip that was a mere 2 minutes and 55 seconds long. It was August 2008, which would have made my children one and four. Raphaelia was wearing a gauzy dress with cream embroidery and she had a striped little hair barrette clipped to the side. Nikolas was in navy shorts with deep pockets and a pale blue collared shirt. As I watched the way they twirled and danced and smiled, it made me miss them. I had forgotten the way they sounded and the way they interacted and the way they spoke. Nikolas was only just learning how to string words and sentences together so I especially loved seeing him use hand gestures to further explain himself. He was so small. And Raphaelia. Youthful and sweet and expressive. She took such enormous delight in collecting shells in the hem of her dress. The way she ran to me for validation that her sea treasures were in fact, as
beautiful as she believed.
I must have watched that video at least a dozen times and felt a sense of deep sadness every single time. I couldn’t figure out why exactly. I loved seeing their little faces and their pudgy hands and the way their hair blew in the wind. Why was this short video moving me to tears over and over?
The nostalgia of course, but it was more than that.
Seeing it made me wonder if I had recognized the beauty of what lay before my very eyes that day. The absolute magnitude of appreciation for who they were. Raphaelia, free and animated and Nikolas, pensive and independent. I was struck over and over by the details of their mannerisms and I didn’t want the short movie to end.
Did I know how wonderful things were?
Do I know how wonderful they STILL are?
And now, all of a sudden it seems, I have a pre-teen who has strong opinions about fashion and a 7 year old who shies away when his mother shows affection in front of his friends. And although I want to cherish every stage for its life lessons and intricate beauty, a small part me mourns the loss of early childhood when things seemed so easy. Of course, they didn’t seem easy back then. They seemed difficult at times. Exhausting at times. I suppose a part of this journey is being conscious of those pockets of time that give us joy in the midst of all the chaos and fatigue. Stopping for a moment and appreciating those short 2 minutes and 55 seconds when your children are playing harmoniously, even if only for that short stint.
The beauty is there. We just need to pause long enough to notice it.
1 recipe for pie dough ( or frozen pie dough )
3 t white sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t each cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
1 t fresh lemon juice
Peel and slice peaches and add sugar, vanilla, spices and lemon and set aside.
Lay a piece of parchment on a work surface and place your ball of dough on it. Roll dough out to a 12″ circle that is about 1″ thick. Starting about an inch from the edge, arrange the peaches in the center. Fold the outer edges of the pastry over the peaches, creating folds that overlap slightly. Brush the dough with some water and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 for about 45
minutes or until the dough is golden and filling bubbles.
Nicholetta Bokolas is the author of the food blog Pepper + Paint. She is a wife, mother and lover of all things fresh and local. She believes good food is meant to be shared and loves coming up with unique recipes that feed both the body and the soul. You can follow Pepper and Paint on facebook and twitter.