Lately Ive been a nostalgic Mama.
As much as she’s changed—nine next month. when did that happen?!–in so many ways she’s stayed exactly the same.
I recall when she was young watching her on the playground always the first to rush over when someone fell and was hurt.
I remember when she was little how she’d notice the child who seemed sad or left out and be certain to include her in games.
Sure she was silly, quirky and, at times EXHAUSTING, but her caring-heart always overshadowed those traits.
kindergarten. my calf-sleeves = fashionable arm warmers.
I observed her through preschool and watched as nothing really changed.
I wondered if Kindergarten and being surrounded by peers would lessen her kind heart?
Nothing seemed to shift yet I also I wasn’t privy to hours of her day.
I really no longer had a complete sense of how she behaved when I wasn’t around.
And then Kindergarten ended.
Her fantastic teacher spent hours selecting a word which embodied each child, painting the word on a stone for the child to keep, and had a special ceremony to present the rocks.
I still remember how the Tornado’s face lit up when the teacher read her word out loud.
I still recall the pride on the Tornado’s face and the confidence in her kinder-walk as she strode to the front of the room to receive her stone.
I watched as pretty much immediately she made the word her own.
“What?!” she say when she’d catch me staring as she doted upon her younger cousin. “I’m nurturing!”
“Are you sure you’re having fun?” I’d ask when at block parties and holiday events she’d hang back with the younger kids and help. “Of course I am! I’m nurturing!”
nurturing her cousin when she was in the hospital.
Years down the road things are virtually the same.
“How are you, Mama? She routinely asks on our walk home from school. “How can I help you? What do you need?”
This line of questioning used to make me uncomfortable.
I worried she felt as though she needed to take care of me.
As though I appeared unable to take care of myself.
“I’m FINE!” I’d respond. “You don’t need to worry about me!”
“Yes I do,” she’d say. “I’m nurturing you.”
It’s been a hard year so far.
I watched. I listened. I paid attention when she’d talk about spending recess hanging out in the office.
“Do you feel as though you have friends at school?” I gently asked one afternoon.
Her face crinkled into an expression of Why the heck would you even ask me that?!
“It just seems you spend recess in the office. I wanted to be sure you weren’t feeling left out or lonely.”
“Just lunch-recess,” she responded her face still crinkled. “I help Miss. Theresa with the kids who don’t feel well. I nurture them.”
On Friday she pulled the commendation pictured above from her backpack and presented it to me.
“This is amazing,” I said to her. “Do you even know what compassion means?”
“Yes,” she said without a moment of hesitation. “It means I’m nurturing.”
“Yes. That’s exactly what it means. And I’m proud of you and who you’ve grown to be.”
A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true.
I’ll never know if she’d have grown to be the same nurturing child had her teacher not bestowed the word upon her and, really, it doesn’t matter.
When given the gift of the word & stone she assimilated it into how she saw herself and it became a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
Each time I think about this I’m also reminded of this quote:
- The way we talk to others can become their inner voice.
- The way we talk to ourselves can be come our inner voice.
Words are powerful and if you’re like I am you believe they can alter the course of a life.
I’m watching it happen.