Posted by: Naomi Baltuck | May 15, 2012

Photo Challenge: Reflections

Once, when we were running late, I was waiting impatiently to lift my little boy Eli into his car seat, while he studied a bug on the driveway.  “Hurry up!” I said.  “We’re going to be late.”

Puzzled, my little boy looked up at me and said, “Mommy, why are you using that tone of voice?”

Such a grownup expression from the mouth of the babe!  And it took my breath away.

“You’re right, honey,” I told him. “It’s not the end of the world if we’re late to pre-school, and it wouldn’t be your fault, if we were.”

Eli and I had a good look at the bug, while I quietly reflected upon what kind of parent I wanted to be.  Which memory of me would I want my kids to look back on and remember me by?  My mother once told me, “The best friends you’ll ever have are the ones you raise yourself.”  Bless her!  Bless them!  Bless us all!

I love that tee shirt that says, “Please let me be the person my dog thinks I am.”   But I aspire always to be the person my kids think I am.

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  1. Absolutely!

  2. “The best friends you’ll have are the ones you raise yourself.” – So completely, and wonderfully true! Love it…. :-)
    ~ Terri

    • Hi Terri, thanks for stopping by, and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. Kids can really bring you back to earth – my 7 year-old grandson did just that when he said to me, “It’s not like it’s the end of the world, eh Nana?” Poof! Wind out of my sails (read: rant) and gently back to earth. Great post.

    • Great comment! Brought a smile to my face. I remember once overhearing one kindergartner say to another, “Do you think I was born yesterday?” Duh! Yes, you were! It’s so funny to hear these things come out of the mouths of babes. Thanks for stopping by, Lynne.

  4. Beautiful and wise – and the photograph made me smile.

    • Hi Cathryn, thank you for stopping by–as always, you made me smile, too.

  5. I love the photo, Naomi. Talk about seeing yourself through your kids’ eyes! A perfect image.

    • Hi, Kathy. I hadn’t thought to post on this theme, because I’m working on another big writing project, but I chanced upon this image, which triggered the story, and I just had to do it. I am so easily distracted, but I feel like I spent a little while with my son as I wrote this. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  6. Hi,
    What a fantastic photo, and I love the message you mentioned on the t-shirt, that is brilliant. :)

  7. it’s always funny when our kids repeat our own words back to us. my son likes to tell me when i’m getting angry in traffic to “calm down and take a big breath – in (he inhales) and out (he exhales) – there, that’s better.”

    • HI Valerie,
      That story is so funny! At least you know he’s listening to you. Thanks so much for making me smile today.

  8. Kids are so SMART nowadays. I LOVE your mother’s saying. That should be on a plague.

    • Hi Tess, yes, it’s true; kids are smarter and more sophisticated. And what my mom said is true, too. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I always love to hear form you.

  9. Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ve spent many a morning hustling my preschooler into her carseat, but getting there on time isn’t as important as how the flowers look today with rain on them or what big slug has slimed its way onto our driveway. Thanks for the perspective, Naomi, and I love the photo, too.

    • Dear Laura, you are absolutely right! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Kids grow up way too fast, and it is those driveway moments that we remember, and they will too.

  10. The photo is great, as is your message. We just need to listen to our kids a bit closer, a bit more frequently. And to remember that the tone of voice is so very, very important.

    • Hi Carol,
      That is the truth! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  11. Adults do tend to lose perspective :-) Beautiful message and photo Naomi!

  12. Thanks, Madhu!

  13. The ‘dogs’ quote is on my desktop (PC screen). It’s a good reminder that we can always try to be better persons. :)

  14. Whoh! Another interesting timing thing. As you saw, I posted something today about John Lennon, and now I show up here and find your photo of someone wearing Lennon-esque glasses.


  15. Oh, and great post!

    In my experience, this line:

    “The best friends you’ll ever have are the ones you raise yourself.”

    …for me, would read:

    “The best teacher you’ll ever have is the one you raise yourself.”

    I SO treasure those moments when I learned from my son what being a fun-loving, active, unconditionally loving, creative, empathetic human is all about.

    • Yes! I am a passionate person with many interests, but there is no question, the hardest, most wonderful, most worthwhile, most important thing I’ve ever done is to have kids. It has given me new eyes and made me a much deeper participant of life.

  16. It’s funny how much we miss out on in the rush to get to the important stuff. What a wonderful moment you had with your son though. It’s amazing what we can learn from each other when we stop and listen. :)

    • Yes, when the important stuff is right there under your nose, in footy pajamas.

  17. I just love those wake up calls we receive from our children. Mindfulness indeed. There is also a message of reassurance in there Naomi, it reassures us that that voice isn’t the one we usually employ, small gratification perhaps.

    • Hi Claire, thanks for the follow! I love the look and feel of your blog, and look forward to following you and exploring some of your archives as well, which look fantastic. Living in France, you might appreciate my post “Editing Monet’s Garden.”

      You’re right about Eli. I felt terrible about it, until I thought about it more. My kids were so easy, and I know how lucky I was! Eli was born twenty-five years old. They have had a gentle upbringing–I have never once raised a hand to them, and hardly ever had to raise my voice. I can remember almost every time that happened.

      Once, both kids followed me into the bathroom and we were chatting and keeping company as I was brushing my teeth at the sink. Toddler Bea started to reach for the toilet. My hands were full, and my instinctive reaction was to holler, “No Bea! Don’t touch!” Eli, who was four or five at the time, scolded, “Mom, you’re going to scare her.” It was alarming for them to hear me raise my voice that way. I was proud of him for his sensitivity to his sister, and embarrassed that I let my gut reaction kick in enough to scare my toddler.

      Kids grow up thinking that however they are raised is the norm. So on the rare occasions that I did “use that tone of voice,” it probably was as traumatic to them as if I had been yelling. That’s what surprised Eli so much when I “used that tone of voice” on the way to pre-school–I wasn’t even yelling–just HURRYING him. But it was a huge wake-up call to me, Claire, about what is really important.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I know I will enjoy many more on your blog!

      • Thanks Naomi, I’ll be back to check out that post and others :) Thanks for connecting.

  18. I love this picture! The story is truly lovely too. Kids sure to have a “gift” when it comes to the “ha-ha-nana-booboo’s” of life. God love ’em.

    • Thank you, Nae. Yes, yes, yes! I appreciate your visit.

  19. Oh, this is beautiful Naomi. Such a beautiful reminder. It’s amazing how much wisdom and insight our children have. Truly amazing.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. I am so happy to have met you and look forward to reading more from you!

    • Dear Jessica,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate your visit too.

  20. Way too late for my kids —
    Helpful for my grandchildren. But somehow much easier to come by, even by my own insight, with grandchildren.
    The photo is extraordinary!

    • Thank you. I am attracted to the photos that tell stories or into which I can imbue, at least for myself, some kind of symbolism (English Major!). I don’t have any grandkids, but my sister Lee does, and she says the same thing. I wonder if that has something to do with the stage of life you are at–perhaps not being pulled in so many directions at once, or just being at one remove from the awesome and sometimes daunting responsibility of parenthood.

      • Absolutely — grandparents don’t have the anxieties and responsibilities, those are the parents’ —
        Our only “job” is to love unconditionally.
        There ought to be a really important message somewhere in there —

  21. hi Naomi,
    thank you for your reflections – and the link to the RIVER song!

    • HI Frizz,
      Isn’t Bill Staines great? I have had the pleasure of hearing him in concert on several occasions, but not for quite a while. He recently put out a new CD called “Old Dogs.” I really like the title song on that album.

  22. cool! excellent take on the theme!

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for dropping by, and taking the time to leave a comment!

  23. […] […]

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