Thursday, May 17, 2007

Keeper of the Lulls

A few years back my oldest was entering the summer of the 5 year old. The summer between preschool and Kindergarten and this Mama was struggling with the transition. My heart was anticipating many changes. Changes that I wasn’t quite ready to accept. A good friend told me about an article she read about this magical summer. The article completely put words to my heart song. I am now in my 4th summer of transition. It is also my last transition from preschool to Kindergarten as my youngest will cross over this bridge this summer. As my heart strings continue to be played I went back to this article entitled Keeper of the Lulls by Kathleen Hirsch. I have put several sections of the article in the blog. Enjoy

Keeper of the Lulls

We are hunting frogs, and my five-year-old son has almost got the hang of it. A stealthy hand comes up behind his prey, the other forms a gently cup in front. A few feet away from the edge of the pond, I sit watching. Now it happens. William has managed to coddle his pulsing green quarry of these long, languid days. Only – he hasn’t the heart for capture. I watch as he lets the frog bound away, out from between his hands into the cold, clear depths of water. When the Lord told Adam he was to have dominion over the animals, I believe that he had in mind the sensitivity of the five year old.

The gift of this season has been learning that the fifth summer of life is one of the sacred pauses of childhood. Poised between preschool and kindergarten, my son knows better than anyone that as summer draws to a close, his world will utterly change. Part of him experiences this anticipating like a great hunger. It rises like sap in his veins, charging him with the enchantment of mastery. To know! To do! To grow up!

…Yesterday’s world was a circle of two. Regularly, indeed incessantly, the baby’s first business is to complete our circle, to sit contentedly in the haven of mother’s breasts and arms. In hindsight, I see that all of our visits to neighboring farms, all of the stories read and told, were merely glosses on the essential circle dance of childhood. At five, his gaze has shifted beyond my shoulder. It’s not cuddling he hungers for, but himself. And for this he must leave the circle, he must go more deeply into his emerging self and at the same time, out into the world.

…I have come to see my role this summer as the “keeper of the lulls,” the protector of these tranquil hours when William can reflect on nature and himself with the same unhurried at-homeness with which a frog gazes at the bottom of the pond.

…This summer, on the cusp of waning babyhood, I realize that for a long season to come – perhaps for the rest of the journey – I must content myself with this role as the keeper of the lulls. It is my task now to learn to keep my hands as open as my son’s, to watch and to cherish his tight-coiled brightness and ripeness, know that this life force will surely lead to yet another leap – into a new and unimagined distance. But I also know that one day my little adventurer will return to the boy in the summer of five, in search of his buried treasure.

1 comment:

Susan Bowen said...

How are you? I'm excited to see your blog. How fun to catch up a bit with you, even though it's not as good as sitting with a cup of coffee and an hour to chat.

I love this posting. I've gone back to teaching, and am teaching grade one this year (and next) so this really resounded with me. My teaching partner and I have had lots of good discussions and prayer times about our role in these little lives (they're 5 or 6 when we get them in Sept.) and our role. Thankfully in most situations we are allies with Moms & Dads and simply a new member of the circle. There have been a couple of parents this year that have had trouble letting go... and yet we're mindful that these little ones are ours only for a year, and then they go on to the next season...

Thanks! Have a blessed day today,