As part of National Poetry Month, today is Poem in Your Pocket day. This is the poem I picked up at this wonderfully special bookstore in Bend, Oregon.
Roll yes around on your tongue for a whole day and night. Invite Yes into your dreams! Let the shape of Yes luxuriate in your mouth for the entire month of April! Watch what happens.
In Crepe Paper
Because there was a rush of Yes
into the mind of the teacher and
because Yes became a sound,
Yes, she said, Yes, to the child at last,
because she finally heard the Yes,
he carried it home like a bright yellow flower,
a big one with petals made of sunlight
to a mother who was waiting for a Yes,
because the word was carried in
in the mouth of her heartchild, that yes
became the answer, the chant, the only
word in her day-long litany.
Yes, Yes, Yes
*from Shout If You Want Me to Sing by Imelda Maguire
And here's the essay that was adapted from the magazine article, that became a chapter in Child of Wonder, that was inspired by the Yeses we strive to have together as a family.
“Yes Days” by Ginger Carlson
from Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flower
This way, Mommy! Do you hear the rocks crunching under my feet?” My son darts past me on the walking trails near our home. We spend the morning snooping in the bushes, snacking on only the plumpest berries that drop effortlessly into our palms, and sprinkling “fish food” (crumbled Autumn leaves) into the creek. Today is a “Yes Day,” a day in which I consciously choose to say yes to my child, to honor his spirit, his desires, his choices. Today there is no “We need to…”, “Time to go…”, or “One more minute…” and (practically) anything goes. Days like today fulfill us, bring us closer together, and help us release the struggles long enough to see the wonder in the world through our shared eyes.
I am a stay at home mom who redirected my life (aka quit my successful profession to work at home) in order to soak up this time with my son. Still, I find myself often feeling directed by the places we should be. Many of these ‘should bes’ are places we actually have to be or things that indeed do need to be done in order to make our lives run smoothly (meetings, errands, or household chores); many are my own omniscient-parent have-to’s, outings we go on for his benefit: library story times, playgroups, community activities, visits to parks and playgrounds. It’s easy to get tied into having self-imposed time limits on our day, our week, our life. I find myself comforted by having a plan, a time frame for it all.
Disturb the comfortable. Isn’t that what they say? What would life be worth if there wasn’t a little discomfort now and then? So I’ve tossed my ‘plan’ aside for the day. And what a gift it is when I take the moment to stop and evaluate it all. I realize that letting go of these have-to’s, if only for the day, is how we are able to really build the deep connections I sought after when I made the decision to stay at home with him. Through the simple things we do today, like collecting the knobbliest sticks and then finding things to measure with them, we are learning to understand each other better. That, it seems, becomes the key to nurturing a confident, passionate, creative and valued human being.
As we enter this very freeing day, my heart reminds my head that saying yes, affirming my son as a human being is a gift to both of us. I watch closely as my son’s eyes light the pathways to the soul that is fed by his choices being honored, not having time limits or have to’s for once; I feel my own soul swelling as I inhale his pleasure in these simple moments and take the time to truly draw in his joy, something we all often forget to stop and do in our hectic world. I affirm to myself that the world I am creating for my son will directly affect the world that he will help create as I attentively listen to his movements, his explorations, his problem solving techniques. As a joyous gift from him, I gain insight into ‘his world’.
Like the lightening bug he is, my son takes a quick unbridled left turn down the road less traveled, through the bramble towards a swell of stones that seem to be calling his name. I follow ‘his path’, the one he is creating for himself, away from schedules, away from pressure. Just one on one time with Mommy that helps us recognize the way this puzzle really does fit together so nicely.
In so doing, we are learning to question agendas, getting past reflexively saying “It’s time to go,” or “one more minute”. I now grasp that imposing my agenda on him to go somewhere HE will enjoy (even if that means entering into a power struggle that leaves both of us exhausted) is only training him to look to others for direction rather than gaining sovereignty over himself. I witness him finding strength in the love he feels from me as he is given control over his situation.
So here we are in the eyes of our shared day, viewing the world as it is and as it should be, through each remnant egg shell we discover, each ripple we create in the creek. We are learning to say yes to each other, to the people we interact with, to the ebb and flow of the world. Perhaps these “Yes Days” are only training for us to live a yes life. Even more so, perhaps our “Yes Lives” will be the impression left on our children that in turn creates a “Yes World”.
Hopefully so, but for now I am content to accept the joy we both get from our simple “Yes Days” and even the tiniest of “Yes Moments” when carving out a whole day just seems too impossible. Because there is only one thing I could say when my three year-old circle danced atop a stone mountain in the forest, arms outstretched as if he was tickling the sky and I caught up in time to ask, “Tell me about your dance?” and he responded “I’m changing the world, Mommy.”
“Yes, honey, you certainly are!”
Ginger Carlson, author