Children see things so differently than adults do. There ability to accept things as they do— helps all of us conquer the difficult things in the world. I love to be with small children. They delight in things we can’t even see. They giggle and have genuine reactions to simple things. We get so derailed on our vision of life as we get older. Our ways of seeing things are clouded by fear and perhaps a single bad experience. We know a little to much for our own good.
As a child, we owned a big Maple table with folk art painted on it. The table was also a big part of our childhood adventures. My brother who is 5 years older would cover the table with a big black Indian print blanket. The instant playhouse was great fun. We’d crawl in and out of the flap door. The chairs were our shelves to put things on. We just enjoyed hours of playtime there.
We were out of the way and able to play cards or our games nearby our parents.
On one occasion an Aunt of mine came over with a man she was dating. He was a hefty gentleman with a good laugh and smile. His name was Charlie. On this day, my mother and aunt were busy chopping celery for chop suey. I remember the scene so clearly and the sun of the nearby window shining in through old fashioned lace curtains as I played underneath the table.
The man had a unique leg. As a 3 year old, I saw it was shiny like my dolls legs and I focused on it. It had no hair, was pink, and well just fascinating. His shoes matched each other but I could see that his legs were different.
Years later as a teenager, Charlie & my Aunt lived in Indiana. It was a marriage of companionship. They seemed to thrive on doing things for one another. My aunt was a great cook and Charlie seemed to enjoy sitting at the kitchen table with his coffee and fresh fruit pies on many occasions.
Charlie drove a car with a ball on the steering wheel. My Aunt did not drive and he would take her around town or where ever she needed to go. Often he’d sit in the car and wait for her.
He had only one arm; the left sleeve dangled down- often tied at the wrist or tugged in. He’d ask me to help him wash and dry his hand before dinnertime. I realized early-on how difficult life must have been, but he seemed to take things in stride.
Charlie had been in an accident when he worked for a railroad company. He had slipped on ice during the night on and was run over by a train. Because of the extreme cold, he survived the awful accident. He learned to get around with a prosthetic leg that strapped onto his body.
Both he and my aunt lived full lives. My mom told me he as a bouncer in a bar following WW II. He owned a tavern and would pick up cases of bottles and stack them with ease. Obviously he managed to keep strong physically, as well as, mentally. He seemed to thrive on being with people and I am sure that keeping involved with others helped him immensely.
Everyone deals with their concerns in a different way. Learning how you do that is a key to solving problems. I am thankful for the minor moments of playing underneath our table and having a safe fortress.
I am thrilled that I saw adversity from a child’s point of view and that I learned how people were able to carry on life’s duties in spite of their limitations. I read that success is never owned; it is only rented, and the rent is due every day.
So try new things often, be aware of all the opportunities that we put off or the problems we amplify. Enjoy the minor moments that are steps onto the escalator of success.
See you next week as Kate and I dive into a topic of Embracing Sad Moments.