Sonflowers. Perhaps a true sunflower, a rose, a tulip. More than likely, a dandelion. Most importantly, a flower from a son. Seeds scatter with sweet breaths, whispers of wishes, the breeze. Float away like dreams, find a new place to grow. Some call them weeds. I call them resilient, inspired, plentiful, weightless.
I call them love.
Can I have a snack? Can I have a drink? Can we go outside? Can I play with the magna tiles? Can we paint? Can I watch a movie? Can we go swimming today? Can I go out on the playset? Can I have another popsicle? Can I get out all the Legos? Can we play with Play-Doh? Can I please stay up later? Can I sleep in your bed tonight? Can we camp out in the basement? Can I have that cardboard box to make a fort? Can I go on an adventure? Can we go on a bike ride? Can you put new batteries in this? Will you tell me a story?
I’m not sure about your children, but mine make at least 1000 requests (a piece) on any given day. Something seems different about that last question, though. It seems different because it feels different. It’s the one request I can’t bear to respond to with a “maybe later” or a “we’ll see.” And here’s why:
Will you tell me a story? means much more than “Will you tell me the words in this book?”
Will you sit with me? Will you share your time with me, your being? Will you give me all of your attention? Will you be cozy in the comfy chair with me? Will you help me unwind, relax? Will you soothe me? Will you help my imagination grow? Will you show an interest in my interests? Will you help me feel worthy? Will you teach me about the world, about life, about God? Will you show me what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes? Will you teach me empathy? Will you make me laugh? Will you show me what feelings look like and how to express them? Will you let me hear the sound of your voice? Will you show me your love?
It’s an honor as a mother, a gift of mutual joy to say, “Yes, love, I will” every chance I have for as long as I have them. To say, “I can’t change the whole world for you. I can’t take out all the ugly. I can’t make your growing pains disappear. I can’t explain things to you that make no sense to me. I can’t answer all of the questions. But, I can open this book. I can learn, grow, understand and imagine right along with you. I can tell you a story. I can, I will, and I would love nothing more. I can show you I love you in this way.”
What unfolds from this page is meant to do the same for you and for me. We, too, need story time with both our children and with one another. At our core, we all have these fundamental needs, spiritual needs, no matter our age or situation in life. We need to learn, understand, and grow. We need to feel loved. We need to hear a story.
This is our documomtary—our written chronicle on motherhood. Without you, the story is incomplete. If you are a mother, love someone who is a mother, have a mother or a mother’s heart, this is your story as much as it’s mine. So, momma, friend, fellow storyteller, I will tell you a story or a few. Please, have a seat in a comfy chair and share your story, too.