Today we went to the Children’s Museum for the last time. We’re moving this weekend and if you kids were stuck roaming the house full of empty walls and boxes one more day, it may have been a horror story--for me. You needed a change of scenery, things to climb, and tools to create.
We played near the baby pond, a soft area for babies to be safe from the whirlwind rodeo of children who move without awareness. You began to build this elaborate structure from the soft blocks. A mother and her young son approached. Clementine threw blocks out of the circle. Harper practiced her ballet along the sides. The little boy wanted the blocks that you were, but his mother saw how your head was reeling with a plan and she asked him to wait for you to finish. I thanked her with a smile.
Just as you were done, a reckless storm blew on the scene in the form another boy. Almost instantly, his sent your walls and tall arches to the ground. You watched in devastation as tears welled in your eyes. I looked at the boy, who was already bored with his surroundings. His mother and her friend watched him without the slightest raise of an eyebrow or mischievous smirk. They didn’t shrug their shoulders, suggesting that boys will be boys. They didn’t even react. They were gone.
Her blank face caused a fire to grow inside me. I held you close in your sadness and saw the first mother and son, who witnessed the whole event. Their faces were heavy with the injustice of it all. I wanted to confront the thoughtless villain of the story, I really did. Sadly, even as an idealist in a full mama bear moment, I don’t think it would have mattered. Instead, I wiped your eyes and took a deep breath.
Baby, I hope you always create amazing things. I love the way your eyes glow as your mind works. I wish I could see all the greatness that is happening up there. We only get a glimpse out here. I hope you never stop seeing the materials before you with unlimited potential to become something new. Never stop building. Pour your heart into your work, let it dazzle everyone with imagination and truth. Creativity is our gift that changes the world. I know this to be true.
And just as easy as we can create, we also have the ability to destroy with that same great force. It’s huge and otherworldly; it’s powerful and fierce. The world is full of people who will take one look at your masterpiece, all your heart and passion and stomp it to the ground. As sure as breath flows through their veins, they will ruin whatever they find. I can’t yell at them all. I wish I could. We can’t always take up arms against the sea of troubles. Some battles are not worth fighting, although many are. This is something we keep learning our whole lives.
That child didn’t pause to see what you were doing. He didn’t notice how each block was placed with intention. He didn’t imagine what it could be or ask to join. Maybe his world little room for potential and possibilities, a mere existence, a force of survival. We can’t always know the story, we only get to live ours. Let it be one of awareness, goodness, and heart.
My son, our sadness can be a gift, so that we remember how it felt, so that we don’t bring that same feelings to others. I can’t keep you from sadness. I can’t stop the thoughtless destroyers, but I can tell you this, so that maybe on the hardest days, when you need to find the good in the world, you’ll have these words planted somewhere deep.
The world is a beautiful place, but it’s also pretty ugly. You’ll meet all kinds of encouraging people who will help you along the way. Remember them and be like them. You’ll meet all kinds of people who have yet to discover how their power can be used for good, it will be heartbreaking and sometimes, they are hard to forget. They’re actions and words will stick in your head for years. Don’t let them win. You may want to give up, so many times. You may wonder if what you do matters. Sometimes, I ask those questions too, but think about this, light eradicates darkness, that means, if there is even a sliver of light, it will penetrate the darkness. Like the stars that shine so boldly in the huge sky above us. They look so small from where were are, but they are bigger than we can imagine. So when it all feels like a big, dark night, look for the stars. And if you look everywhere and see only darkness, take something into your hands, tell a story and create the light you need.