Friday, January 17, 2014


"Now you HAVE to be like a statue with a smile. You're a rock in the water. Okay?" She smiled with her tiny fingers cupping my face, eyes serious as could be for few moments before throwing her little arms around my neck.

She is Cricket. She is 3 years old and we share the same exact sun (birthday) along with the same Arian moon. 17 years ago, Crickets mom became my boss and mentor guiding me through my teenage years. I'm not sure why but I'm always surprised when people remain in my life in some capacity, and their presence always affects me in a very deep way.

The parallels of life intrigue me. Last weekend I watched both Cricket and her 5 and a half - the half is important ;) - year old brother, Spyder. They were seated, eating their dinner talking about their favorite animals when the lights flickered. I had only been there for maybe 30 mins at this point and though I adore kids, I can't even remember the last time I was responsible for little ones this young. Spyder asked me why the lights had flickered and as he did so, they went out completely for about 10 seconds before turning on again briefly. Both kids immediately moved closer to me freaked, asking what was happening. I held Cricket on my left hip and Spyder with my right hand and we searched for a flashlight and candles. Of course, they went out again.

Spyder successfully remembered where a flashlight was and I tried to alleviate their fear of the dark through shadow puppets and talking about why they were afraid. Intriguingly enough, my own most potent moment of discussing fear of the dark that has remained in my brain, happened with their mom 12 years ago. We were driving slowly through a forest in Yosemite at night when she slowed the car to a stop and turned off the headlights. Screams came from some of the other teens in the van with me but she had created a teaching moment and opened the door for discussion. We sat in that van in the pitch blackness of the forest for at least 10 minutes talking about senses and what made something immediately scary just because you couldn't see it. I found myself tailoring that conversation for her little ones that night. They slept in the dark, right? I reminded Spyder about the days before electricity existed and his affirming that fact helped to soothe his sister as well.

By the time the lights came on, their fear had diminished. We had found a headlamp that Cricket insisted on wearing while Spyder played with one of those light up circus toys. They both love kitties and each pretended they were one of my kittens, jumping on my shoulders. When it was time for bed, we all danced and sang to a barnyard song book. Spyder climbed into his top bunk and as I kneeled in front Cricket she spoke those words above to me before I laid her in bed. The potent wisdom of a sleepy 3 year old.

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