These days can be like an emotional roller coaster.
After 40 years in Topanga playing with young children as my profession, and a constant in my life, this current reality feels more like a fantasy than any of their play of turning chairs into train cars and sand into coffee.
We are so blessed to be in Topanga! The birds are still bursting into brilliant song each day (and now I have more time to listen and appreciate that fact.) The mountains stand tall and strong around us as light filters through the leaves of the trees and yet, all is not well.
Radio, television and voices from the outside world are clear and grim. We find ourselves confined to our homes by an unseen villain and are being forced to learn new ways of living. We are finding ways to be together, while so carefully apart, that are unfamiliar, and our efforts may be clumsy as we acquire new skills living with ourselves.
Some points in the day can bring one pretty low. While at other times it feels like a blessing in disguise if we work at it. I prefer to look for the rainbows and silver linings. That’s the story I want to share here.
The Friday before Easter I had what proved to be a great idea in the midst of all this madness. Missing all the families I work with, and feeling powerless, I thought how at Children’s Corner each year this is the time we order Butterfly Gardens and bring caterpillars into the playroom to watch them grow and change. Maybe this could be another bridge in challenging times? If I ordered 29 kits, enough for each of the families I was missing so much, we could be together while apart. Eureka!
The idea grew in my head and heart. Thank goodness for the internet, computers, and a supportive man in my life. When I whined, “but this takes forever to order one by one for delivery to each child’s home,” he reminded me of one of the basic premises I stand by and teach: “We must make time for each child to connect and listen.”
Right, of course, and taking those minutes to connect is a pathway to balance and harmony. I got it.
By the time I finished Friday afternoon, I was so excited. The weekend passed and on Tuesday I started getting emails, PING, PING, “Your Butterflies Have Been Shipped,” and by Wednesday, PING, PING, “Your Butterflies Have Been Delivered.” Each email brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart.
Comments and thank-yous began to arrive. The children were “over the moon.” They were “so excited to get the package and share the experience with each other.” “Our first family pet.” “While we watch the caterpillars grow, soon to move in to a chrysalis phase,” one family said, “we can talk about how this time is like a chrysalis around our family and, in time, we will be out and flying free again”
I love it!
I now find thoughts of those little caterpillars uniting us all, sustains me when I start to feel anxious and weak. I hope we can all take a moment to look on this unprecedented time of adversity as an opportunity for renewal and make the most of it as best we can. It is work to do so but the best things often are. All we can really control is our attitude and perceptions.
Perhaps now is the time to look for those silver linings and rainbows in these darker days and remember we will all come out of this together in the end, ready to fly free and make the time count.
Blessings to us all, with the hope that as our 100 or so Children’s Corner butterflies hatch, slowly pump their wings to prepare for their new place in life and finally fly free, we will be ready to join them.
By Linda Hinrichs, Children’s Corner Play Center