My daughters carry their babies in slings. This is my little Sofie carrying her Care Bears in her mommy’s underwear. As you can see, the little ones constantly learn from those around them. There is a weight of responsibility in that simple truth. Milt and I had 2,000 miles of talk time on our recent trip to Rapid City/Denver/Lincoln/home. I’m amazed at how many of the hours we spent talking about family. It really is as Hellinger said, “What do people care about? They care about the family.”
When I hear the craziness of Black Friday and people leaving their families in pursuit of “stuff” it makes me crazy. I want to say “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?” Our children need our time, our nearness, our touch, our example.
Two nights ago I was sitting on the floor next to my 13-year old grandson, Gavin. I gestured for him to sit in front of me, and I rubbed his back and shoulders. Gavin is at that age where he is adding inches and inches, rapidly growing out of his little boy body. It is so easy to think that these children who are easing into adulthood no longer need our touch, but I could feel every muscle respond to my caring hands. And I could feel the emotional and physical distance between us close. I flashed back to my son, Tom when he was this exact same age. He used to seek out the moments when I would be sitting in front of the fire relaxing. He’d plop down next to me—I knew that he was seeking that contact. Often a few minutes of rubbing his shoulders would lead to conversations that sometime wandered late into the night. I just had to be available. Those are some of my most precious memories.
The spiral of life. Four nights ago I was in my son, Tom’s, house in Aurora watching him cuddle his new son, just four months old. Tom didn’t wear a sling, but his arms work the same way, creating a cradle of safety and warmth for his little one. Baby Jack was content and happy to be held so close.
When Milt and I were talking, we came to the conclusion that nobody knows the result of this unhappy social experiment—of leaving children early, stressed out parents, strained economies, police-like schools. Where in this mix is the moment of sitting in a completely relaxed and warm environment doing what humans love to do most—connect? I guess I am longing for a clan existence, winter months parked in a circle around a roaring fire sharing stories. We have come a long way from that world—and we don’t know what the result will be of this world we have created. I do know one thing—the children pay a heavy price.
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