I bought a new mug. A big hearted mug with the capacity to hold so much T. It has a picture of a shiny red bike on it with Two hearts in the front wheel. Red blue and yellow flowers in the basket at the front and the same on the back. In side the rim are the words “Good Vibes Only”.
”If I may be so bold to ask for someone to hold that shudders my skin”
Sent to me in the form of 3 year old A, who I met and made friends with as I lay under the tree in the forest. Wearing her sunshine yellow dress covered in blue fish and a submarine, teamed with leggings, filled with leopards and their spots. And new blue trainers.
She was a complete reminder in what joy looks and feels like as I soaked hers up. She said hello and goodbye to me many times as she took adventures around the tree I was lying under, before lying down next to me on my picnic mat and giving me a hug.
“You have a lovely smile A” I said. “You have a lovely smile M “she said back.
And then she looked at my book in which she found my heart shaped post it note book mark which she stuck on my arm before looking at my phone with a picture of my girl. We talked dancing, singing, round the tree adventures and her baby in its little pushchair. And then we sang “you are my sunshine” along with her mum.
Her mum who was lovely, apologised several times for the disturbance of my peace. No need. I was really happy for it. A, was pure sunshine.
If only it were possible to stay like that forever. Real life and death has a way of crushing it .. unless of course you change yourself or armour up. When you don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty of survival and real life practicalities and money, it’s so much easier. As an adult I’ve always felt that I’m not really made for this world. A constant conflict in what is required to survive and protect others in contrast to who I am. I’ve often in life protected who I really am. She might have really flourished in a place where she didn’t have to worry about the basics. But she doesn’t exist in that world. And so instead she got crushed in all her open hearted and loving naivety.
Its why I love kids so much. They always talk to me and I like their company more than being around a lot of adults. There is a pure sincerity. They respond to the same. They can tell when you are “putting it on” or just being you. You don’t have to guess or read between the lines. There is no polite pretence. They don’t care about your status in life, They either like you or they don’t. It’s visible and you can completely trust in that.
Little A was a beautiful contrast to two men I encountered the previous day when I was driving in my car. The road was busy and chaotic. The first man shouted at me rudely from his flashy motor. “Get out of the F’ing way you stupid B” and then five minutes later as I tried to squeeze through a small gap between park cars and the bus coming the other way, the driver rudely said “you have so much f’ing room”. I just didn’t want to accidentally hit someone’s car.
As I pulled into the car park I felt myself cry behind my sunglasses. In this sparkling new world where everyone is “being kind” I was struggling to feel it. Extra sensitive right now in all my stress and worry for my girl.
I wondered if they would have been so brave if I was a 6ft 6inc bloke with bulging muscles. But then the bullies of this world always tend to pick on those they see as smaller and weaker. Does it say more about them than me? or is it that I have to toughen up and become like them. I wouldn’t want to be like them and I wouldn’t want them as a friend either.
So the experience of A felt a much needed antidote. Just a sweet and happy kid. Warm and friendly and chatty and curious. “She likes being around you” her mum said. I liked being around her.
Her happiness was eventually spoilt when another little one turned up that she wanted to play with, but couldn’t because they had chicken pox. She was no longer free to just run over to the ducks and then run back. Her sparkly smile turned to distress as she rolled on the floor crying. Her patient mum looked for the antidote to her sadness which after many attempts took the promise of buying new play doh from the shop on the way home. After much comforting her tears finally subsided, as no doubt she was imagining what she might create.
Not knowing that what she created for me in that little half hour moment was a beautiful happiness in feeling like me. Able to find the joy in simple happy, that was shared.
Thankyou A. You were a remedy that only a child’s heart is able to create. And a reminder that mine is still in tact even if it is currently locked away for protection in my Gran Torino.