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Being Big Means Not Having to Hold

Updated on December 17, 2017

Growing Up

I owe so much to my daughters, Leyla and Charis. They have helped me realise that if people take the time and effort to escape from self-centredness, and sincerely take note of what others are saying and thinking, they will begin to understand one another, and more importantly, begin to really understand themselves. The purpose of this collection of stories, is not only to record fond memories or to relate humorous incidents, but to communicate the wisdom of awareness. The wisdom of catching the essence of certain moments and not allowing the magic of life to pass by. These captured moments took place when the girls were between two and eight years old. May we all recognise and celebrate the fact that we never really grow up. Adults are just tall children.

Being Big Means......

Close to midnight.

You shout, I awake.

You scream, I rush to your bed.

You are three years old.

I almost panic.

Your bed is empty.

"Charis where are you?" I'm now shouting.

"In the toilet," you reply.

Maybe I should panic.

I get there in no time

and see you sitting

in the dark.

Your arms held high,


above your head.

Your eyes wide,

your delight

as you tell me


"Look dad,

I don't have to hold,

I'm big!

Hey dad?"

Vegetable Rain


did you think it was raining?"

"No Charis,

why, was it raining?"

"No dad,

I was just chewing carrots."

With Leyla

Walking to the beach

you tell me

the sea is huger than a giant.

Your sister agrees.

I share your awe

and stretch my face as yours.

As we walk on to cool, loose sand

your legs almost kicking in delight,

you look up at me in worry

and I feel the pain

as you slowly ask your question,

"Dad, is there a shallow end?"


Halloumi cheese

favourite of mine

mine gone

Leyla's still on her plate

keeping her best 'til last.

"What's that?"

Pointing at the ceiling.




'and with a quick flick of the wrist....'


"Hey, where's my halloumi?"

"Gosh Leyla, somehow it seems

to have changed into a ...... banana,

isn't that amazing?"

"Well change it back!"

The East Pole

"I love you

all the way

from here

to the

East Pole dad!"

The Forse

"This is my rocking forse."

"You mean rocking horse, Charis."

Two years old

puzzled with horse

yet at ease

with heavy, happy and house

you choose to ignore my correction.

In the car,

driving along,

I see a live one!

I point, challenging you again.

"What's that Charis?"

"Not a rocking one dad."

Hello Charlie

"Hello Charlie,"

the tame white parrot greets us.

Bird-park attraction.

"Hello Charlie."

"Say hello to the parrot Chari."



"Charis, the parrot is talking to us,

listen carefully,

he's actually speaking,

he's saying hello."


"Hello Charlie."




More tears.


"Hello Charlie."

"Charis, what's upsetting you?"

"My name's not Charlie,

my name is Charis, dad!"


Oh Leyla.

Your face.

Blue, black and green.

Yellow bruised swollen eyes

and nose

hit my heart

with impact.

You fell off the jungle-gym

at nursery school.

Landed on your face,

"And it was bleeding dad!"

"How far did you fall Ley?"

I asked gently.

"About ten kilometres."

How foolish to argue.

Of course it was.



Your voice

next to my bed.

"Charis are you okay?"

"Yes dad, thought you might need a cuddle."



Action stations.

I take your hand.


it's not too late.


You pull away.

I feel

your pants.

No poo.


“Should I fetch your potty?"

“Poo, poo."


In desperation

I look to Charis for help.

"Giving you a fright dad."

I puzzle

and then...

"Oh boo?

Is that what you're saying Ley?"

Hesitation between sobs.

Hope yet.


I feign major shock,

clutch my head,

fall to the floor.

“Poo, poo."

now with laughter.

(What took you so long?)

God Doesn't Fool Around

Love is a happiness inside of you.

You can't carry love.

You can't hold it like you hold an apple.

But you are carrying it inside of you.

If you're doing things like hugging and being kind

then the love inside of you

goes to another person.

But not all of it goes

And then you've still got love inside

because you've got lots and lots and lots of love inside of you.

Love is listening to most people.

God is just love floating around.

God is inside of everyone.

God is everywhere at the same time.

He doesn't fool around.

He walks where He wants to.

And To Think

Children's zoo

Cramped, dark passage

Looking through a window

into a bright incubator

with at least twelve other people.

Moving egg

Rolling, tipping, righting itself.

Cracking to sounds of aaah! and oooh!

from our side of the glass.

Bits of shell

drop away to expose a rapidly pecking beak

Fluffy yellow appearing

to even louder oooh's and aaah's.

And ten minutes later

Seems like sixty

Fluffy yellow falls clumsily to the outside

amidst silence at first,

then a few gasps

and then a, 'how sweet'.

Charis, loudly and clearly,

"And to think that people actually eat them."

Other Vegetarian Sniplets

People just don't understand that animals have got God inside of them.

I don't eat eggs because they've got little chickens inside of them.

Loudly in a supermarket: Chocolates are really good for me because they don't have animals in them, hey dad?

When offered a tray containing sausages: No thanks, I don't eat animals.

I wish there was no meat in the whole world, then people wouldn't eat it.

Dad, does meat have animals in it?


Third year of life.

Birthday present.

A weekend in Durban with dad

by the sea!

Sitting in the aeroplane

waiting for take-off

discussing everything we could see

(which wasn't much from her point of view).

I point out that the aeroplane has begun to move.


A shout, that turns many heads.

Cabin attendant quickly at her side.

"What's wrong?"

"Are all the windows closed?"

"Yes, they are." replies the attendant.

"Are all the doors closed?"

"Yes they're all closed."

"Good, WE CAN GO NOW." she shouts up the aisle to the pilot.


Three years old

Our first real holiday

Beach-front hotel.

Fancy restaurant treat.

Waiter on his knees

next to a wide-eyed, sparkling Charis.

"What will you be having to eat tonight young lady?"

Within a flash you're off your chair

and whispering into my ear,

"Dad, am I a lady?"

"Of course you are Charis."

You run back and climb onto your chair again.

The waiter is still patiently kneeling.

"Supper please."

Please Hit Me

"You must please hit me dad."

"Hit you Leyla,

why do you want me to hit you?"

"When I'm naughty dad."

"Leyla I don't want to hit you.

Are you planning to be naughty?"

"No dad, but you see,

when you shout at me it hurts on the inside

and when you hit me it'll only hurt on the outside."

The Rocking Horse Again

"Who poeped?"

you ask,

at three years old.


A mature, responsible, grown-up father

performing an amazing offence.

"The rocking horse, Charis."

No reaction.

Two months later!

In the car

I ask,

"Who poeped?"

"The rocking horse dad."

(At least she didn't say forse.)


Tiny toddlers, the two of you,

playing on a large step in a swimming pool.

I watch you Leyla, as you stumble and fall

and end up face-down in the water.

I wait a few seconds

and then realise that you are not going to pick yourself up.

I reach you quickly and pull you out.

You're trying to cry, breathe and panic at the same time.

After much soothing you seem to be alright

and then I turn to Charis who is still playing in the water.

"Charis, you saw Leyla fall, why didn't you help her?"

"She's too heavy dad."


Sunday afternoon,

eating lunch in my cousin Gary's garden.

You eat a little and then push your plate under a chair.

Five minutes later, a concerned friend notices

that you don't have any food.

"Hasn't anyone given you anything to eat Charis?"

Sweetly, convincingly and without hesitation

you answer, "No."

As he takes your hand to lead you to the table,

I feel that it's time to intervene.

"Charis, I did give you some food, you put it under the chair.

You're only two years old and already you're conning the men."

"NO!" she shouts, and now everyone is looking at her.

"No." she repeats.

"I'm two and a half!"

Totally Conscious

Teach your children the art of being conscious, and then you had better be prepared to learn from them.

Just over eight years old.

You and your sister approach me, in front of my friends.

"Dad, can we go down to the fire please?"

"No Charis", I reply , very conscious

of friends listening to the conversation.

"We're waiting for a few more people

and then we'll go down together."

"Why can't we go dad?"

"Well, it's dark outside,

you haven't been here before and you could get lost.

It's cold and drizzling and not very pleasant.

Rather wait for us."

"Dad, those are your fears.

We are totally safe.

Please may we go?"

"Yes Charis."

She was right.


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    • Ken Devonald profile image

      Ken Devonald 

      11 years ago from Edinburgh

      Some nice sentiments Russ! Thank you!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      Wow Russ - these poems are great. Thanks so much for sharing them! At the risk of sounding greedy - more please!

      Love and peace,



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