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Being Big Means Not Having to Hold
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,
as you tell me
I don't have to hold,
did you think it was raining?"
why, was it raining?"
I was just chewing carrots."
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?"
favourite of mine
Leyla's still on her plate
keeping her best 'til last.
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
East Pole dad!"
"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,
I see a live one!
I point, challenging you again.
"What's that Charis?"
"Not a rocking one dad."
the tame white parrot greets us.
"Say hello to the parrot Chari."
"Charis, the parrot is talking to us,
he's actually speaking,
he's saying hello."
"Charis, what's upsetting you?"
"My name's not Charlie,
my name is Charis, dad!"
Blue, black and green.
Yellow bruised swollen eyes
hit my heart
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.
next to my bed.
"Charis are you okay?"
"Yes dad, thought you might need a cuddle."
I take your hand.
it's not too late.
You pull away.
“Should I fetch your potty?"
I look to Charis for help.
"Giving you a fright dad."
Is that what you're saying Ley?"
Hesitation between sobs.
I feign major shock,
clutch my head,
fall to the floor.
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
Cramped, dark passage
Looking through a window
into a bright incubator
with at least twelve other people.
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.
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.
"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
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.
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
at three years old.
A mature, responsible, grown-up father
performing an amazing offence.
"The rocking horse, Charis."
Two months later!
In the car
"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."
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!"
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?"
She was right.