Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Shift

A week or so ago I
wrote about the concept
of sabi ~ the simple
beauty found in the 
worn and imperfect.

But long before we
are sabi women or men,
we are fresh-faced 
girls and boys.

We run barefoot.
We sing loudly.
We laugh and cry without
worrying what others think.

We wear what makes
us happy!

If moms and dads don't
comb our hair or remind
us to brush our teeth, we
run wild and don't give
it another thought.

Until one day.

Something shifts.
Something changes.

Like Adam and Eve
in the Garden of Eden,
we are suddenly aware
of our bodies, and that
first innocence ~ that
not worrying what others
think of our appearance
or how loud or silly or
sad we might appear ~
goes away.

For some, it's when
school starts and other
children tease.

For some, it happens
as a tween or teen, when
puberty first enters 
the scene.

I thought about this
as I collected towels
for the wash from my kids'
bathroom yesterday.  I had to
navigate around a lot
of things whose presence
announced loud and

I care about how
I look.

The tweezers.
The hair smoothing serum.
The cologne.
The mineral powder.

I smiled.

It doesn't seem that long
ago that I kept a chart
to encourage their hygiene
habits with gold stars, or
I had to cajole my son
to take a shower.

Not any more.

There are days when I can
tell that one of them is
feeling self-conscious
about their hair or their
skin or the way a piece
of clothing fits and I wish
fervently that they were
still okay running around
in mismatched socks, or
letting go with their funny
laughter, or creeping into
my lap when they felt

But as all of us have
done, they've crossed that
invisible bridge that
leads from freedom from
caring to.....awareness.

They've made the shift.

Imagine what the world
would be like if we were
able to stay in that first,
carefree state, forever?

Someday they'll re-live
those unaware, free days
when they have children
of their own.  I like to
imagine my son braiding
his daughter's wet hair
as she fidgets, or my daughter 
trying to get her son to floss : )
But most of all, I like to think of 
them enjoying all the belly 
laughs, the tiny bare feet, 
the cuddles and the consoling.

I sure have.

Happy November,
dear friends!


PS:  Thanks to my
sister-in-law for sharing
these Instagram pics of my
nieces and nephew.  Lucky
for her, the shift is still far
out on the horizon : )


michele said...

...and we had rolls and creases on the backs of our legs. that particular pic really hit me as i realized we sort of return to that flabby baby stage and despise it!

never have i felt so self-conscious about appearance as i did on the streets of paris. wow. so the writer in me is still sorting through all sorts of interesting and often contradictory messages.

love to you, shifty.


Susan T said...

A bittersweet post, the one thing that is hardest to do - watch your children grow into adults. I still get the cuddles and the giggly times, but there is nothing quite like that glorious innocence of childhood. It sometimes felt as if we were wrapped up in a lovely secret world, me discovering life all over again and them with the freshness of everything new and exciting. Still let us hope and pray that we get to do it all again with our precious grandchildren.

NanaDiana said...

I so remember those days with my own kids, Suzanne! It seems like they were babies one day and grown and gone the next. xo Diana

ps. I do NOT miss the coating of hair spray on every surface in the bathroom.

Olive Cooper said...

Oh sweet babies. Maybe I am shifting BACK with my grey hair that everyone seems to want me to color so much. Oh to not care what others is freeing.

Leslie said...

Loved this Suzanne :) I had to smile as I recall the years I used to bath my kids together. All of a sudden (or so it seemed) my son became "modest" and the dynamics of the relationship between my son and his little sister changed. "Why is he covering up?" my daughter asked.

..and yes, lucky for your sister-in-law.

enjoy the weekend ahead,

Biz said...

I LOVE those chubby legs and I'm pretty sure your nephew is going to 'die' someday when he sees that picture! But it's priceless!
I sometimes wonder how much of our grooming is inflicted by others....
My own hang-ups about my crazy curls might have been less traumatic if I had someone in my life who helped me learn how to tame them, but then again maybe not.
You have beautiful children and it all stems from them having a beautiful Mama.
Both inside and out!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


Oh the loss of innocence, and the care free feeling of not worrying about such things as hair, make-up and the likes.
AS I do not have children I have not seen this in my own house but I hear about it often from my sister, and sadly for my niece it happened at 6! She came home crying because Kiki and Tatiana had their hair styled and make up done by their moms before school, I might add that one mom was a hair dresser and one a make up artist.

What I have noticed( and I do not know if this is true for all but I have found this with myself,) that I believe you go full circle. I have reached an age where I am not so concerned with all of this stuff because I have realized that it truly is what is on the inside that counts.

Have a beautiful and magical weekend with your family!

xxoo Elizabeth

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh how I love this journey we are all on. From beginning to end, we are learning in this giant classroom of life. Beautiful my dear! ENJOY THE NEW SEASON! Anita

Alicia said...

this is so sweet, suzanne :) and so true! i sorta wish my oldest cared a wee bit more, i feel like i'm constantly reminding! i am sure that day of products and insecurities will come soon enough :)

Joanna said...

Oh my goodness, what beautiful photographs of your nieces and nephew!!

I always enjoy reading your posts - and often have tears in my eyes when I read them, not with sadness but with the beauty of your writing; your observations, the recognition of the way things were, are and will be. The accompanying photos speak volumes.

You've given me plenty of food for thought today. Thank you!


Tricia said...

When I think about my children changing and entering that phase of life where they're more self-conscious about the way they look, it makes me so sad. To be blissfully unaware of what others think is so wonderful...I wish I was something we could all hold on to a little longer :)

susan@avintagefarmwife said...

This is such a beautiful post! As a grandma, I am reliving the experiences now. I can tell you that there is nothing sweeter than your son loving his daughters. It is also just as hard to watch your grandkids suffer the hurts of growing up as it was your own children. I guess that is life. Hope you have a great day!

Mary Timmers said...

Oh Suzanne, I've thought about this so much lately. As I watch our little grandbabies grow and get bigger, I LOVE the innocent confidence they have. I wish it could last forever. It might be a crazy world if that were true, but a better crazy than we have now!

Love your thoughts!


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

An invisible true! While I can't say I don't care about my appearance any more, I do feel I am shifting again to not caring as much what other people think about it! Fun post! XO

Sylvia said...

Thank you for putting my thoughts into words so beautifully! As you know, I am experiencing the exact same "shift" as you with my fourteen year old ...It's bittersweet, I agree...I often miss that adorable, innocent boy, but I also enjoy this handsome young man who has his own vision and knows what he wants to be in life...It may even be quite liberating to me, I don't know ...
Love your photos and these cute little kids

Tiffini said...

i know
it is hard to watch sometimes
I do not like when one of the kids is struggling in an can be painful because I so want to make it all ok but life..left without me meddling..teaches well
I hear your mama's heart. Love ya girlie:))
happy November to you too!

Hindsfeet said...

In case no one's ever told you, have such a serene beautiful wisdom about you.....I love coming 'here' ...thanks for making such a meaningful space....


Happy Homemaker UK said...

I didn't know Old Spice has a version called 'Swagger' - what clever marketing of such an old-fashioned brand!

Auntie Bliss said...

I have three teenaged boys! It smells pretty good around here these days ;)
What was funny was I bought the two biggest razor kits before they needed them because the school has strict rules, I wanted to be ready...well, I never got to see them grow "fuzz" and that made me sad.

(pcovi :)

Stitchfork said...

So sweet Suzanne! Time flies as we see them grow up right before our eyes.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Yes, that shift happens to all us Mamas at some point. I still have one who has to be cajoled into taking a shower, who doesn't care quite yet, but isn't it amazing how quickly it happens? Motherhood is so bittersweet in that way. Love the cute photos of your littles, they are all so sweet!

Cindy said...

What a lovely post! Brings back lots of memories! (I think my grown son still has mismatched socks!) My oldest daughter is a mom now and I look forward to the wild haired, goofy grins and crazy imagination of my grandson...

The Café Sucré Farine said...

This is a wonderful post, so thoughtful and true! Thanks for taking the time to put this together and make me think about these truths!

koralee said...

How true is this my friend! Something I have not thought about but so has happened in our home too...I remember the gold star days for teeth brushing. Happy November to you too. xoxoxo

Palomasea said...

Love the sweet photos, dear Suzanne!
A Happy November to you, sweet friend...isn't the sunshine nice today?
Beautiful post...I am going through this with my 6th grader...on the one hand...missing the carefree attitude...on the nice not to have to remind her of hygiene rituals! :))
Love your wisdom, dear friend...
Have a wonderful weekend,
- Irina

Julie said...

Sweet!...enjoyed being here today Suzanne. reminisced, smiled, and yep, even TEARED UP! O.O Again, your words have a way of reaching off the screen and touching my emotions...setting off memories...and bringing the heart to a position of gratefulness as it leaves Privet and Holly...looking forward to coming back next time, to see what new bits and pieces of life you will recall and let us share with you. {{{hugs to you}}}. You are a gift in the many. xoxo