A couple of years ago, at Word on the Street – an annual book fest in our city, we met a poetry busker named Whitney French.
Each of my children chose one word and she had to make a poem out of those five words:
nature, friends, wish, lucid, fun
And she created the poem above.
(On the spot. For a toonie. Come on, right?!)
Her typed up poem sits on our mantle. It sits as a reminder to them that their best friends, once imaginary, are coming to life. My children spend most of their time together and after feeling each other out for the last few years, I see now that they are becoming friends. I hear them chatting in their rooms as I drift off to sleep. I see them accepting each other’s strengths and calling on a sibling for help, celebrating their differences instead of comparing themselves. I watch how mini rituals between two siblings are honoured – one reading a story to another every day, one devoting time to braid one’s hair while listening, one going with another into the library together with another one, and one playing lego every morning with a brother that is eager for company and a sounding board.
The poem is also a reminder to me of what childhood looks like.
“Childhood is a place as well as a time.” – May Sarton
It is a sacred and holy time and place – an opportunity to play with fairies and slay dragons. It is a direct line to imagination and creativity. There is a magical quality – a secret unknowing and an untethered freedom. This poem offers me glimpses of childhood in the past, the present, and the future. One that overlaps time and place.
It’s all there – their special place with the woods and the water within a breath’s distance that offers both hiding places and wide open spaces. It’s there in the sports we play together like the last minute tennis jaunt at 8:00pm on a Sunday night where a mishit ball is followed by ringing laughter on empty courts. It’s there in our close quarter travelling – summer road trips where the stuff of childhood and the building of friendship reside simultaneously in a van that just fits.
I’ve seen the delight that both a snail and a star can bring. I have watched my children fall over each other in the sand where limbs and giggles mix into one. I want them to remember that they can “ride on each other’s backs” when they grow up and recall all those piggyback rides in our home, on the beach, and in the water.
This is our summer too – summers past and summers I want to hold on to for as long as I can. Summers that feel so faraway and so near to home. Summers that feel like forever and a summer that is a place where you spend forever with your best friends.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.