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To My Grown-Up Son

My young son Ammon— interested in snails, plants and everything else!

I am still pondering on the thought of becoming the woman I wanted to be. My goal has always been to be a good, loving, caring mother. I think I have been, but we all remember the things we could have done better.

Once many years ago, when I was very ill for a few weeks, I began to see life through my children’s eyes. Unable to do much more than lay in bed, or on the couch, the cares of adult life began to fall from me, and I could see how very busy and occupied we appear to our little ones. All I wanted to do was play with my son Ammon and his toys. I could suddenly see the very great value in one-on-one time with a child, doing what he enjoyed. I was not well enough to play, but that was what I truly yearned to do.

Children need us—they need our attentive self, our listening self. They need us to slow down and see life through their eyes once in awhile. And to be playful and move slower. That is why my philosophy of education is based on making it fun and interesting for kids. As soon as I got well enough, we got out Ammon’s legos and created things together. I laid on the floor and played with him. We constructed a lego cable car that traversed the room on a cord. Play is always much more entrancing when a parent joins in! I wished that I could always keep that viewpoint, but when I got completely well, the load of adult duties was waiting and my hard-earned perspective gradually waned.

If you are a mother of young children, and want to make a most important resolution this year, consider this one from another of my favorite poems:

To My Grown-Up Son

My hands were busy through the day,
I didn’t have much time to play

The little games you asked me to.
I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,
But when you’d bring your picture book

And ask me, please, to share your fun,
I’d say, “A little later, Son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
And hear your prayers, turn out the light,

Then tiptoe softly to the door.
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, and years rush past,
A little boy grows up so fast.

No longer is he at your side.
His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,
There are no children’s games to play,

No good-night kiss, no prayers to hear.
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy, now lie still
The days are long and hard to fill.

I wish I might go back and do
The little things you asked me to.

—Alice E. Chase

My grown son Ammon with the banana tree he is growing indoors!

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