January 22

Finishing Well & Living with Wonder

One of the best, most beautiful, fun things about being a kid is the way they play with no remorse. They are free to be silly or shy. Able to open their mouths and share something outrageously ridiculous or completely irrelevant.

Children live in their own created, Anything is Possible, kingdom.

How many toes does a dragon have?

How fast do fairies fly?

Is the moon really made of cheese?

Why do cylcops have only one eye?

Sometime around the end of elementary school until maybe our fourth decade of life, we begin to filter out the fun, consumed with fear and afraid of what others may think.

Contentment comes when we finally feel like we fit in our skin and begin to get comfortable in the way we wear it. It’s a coming of age story that often doesn’t happen for a long, long time. It takes years of criticism and conflict, fighting with unfriendly voices we hear in our heads and hiding, however we can, from secrets and shame.

When it happens, you can walk confidently into a Saturday morning SCWBI meeting with only one side of your eye makeup finished. It’s also okay that you are hauling a too heavy canvas owl tote, that’s leaking a lavender scent so strong it wafts all the way over to the science-fiction section of Barnes and Noble.

The chapter advisors eyes burn red as I greet them, or maybe I just imagined that.

“I’m so glad to see you! So sorry for the smell. My big bottle of Poo-Poo spray spilled everywhere inside my purse. Look. It soaked my entire checkbook.”

They are leaders because they are kind enough to smile.

There was nothing in me that felt even the teensiest bit embarrassed. I have survived much worse, just like my daughters, who I have tormented their entire lives. Once, I even insisted they walk a block to the store to buy milk.

With change.

“We are not paying for milk with nickels, dimes, and pennies! That is so embarrassing.”

Parents, leaders, and management know we look for teachable moments. Praying to find a quarter under the couch cushion is an early lesson on finance.

We are called to create moments that will be remembered, experiences that leave an impression. Companies that prosper and get more likes know the power of the WOW.

We sat in the circle, sharing and listening about writing and illustrating for children when an employee of the bookstore, probably the manager, surprised us all by serving small cups of Butterscotch Lattes and pastry samples.

Oh, my gosh. So buttery, caramel-ey delicious!

There is an often used quote, “It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.” I don’t know who said it first, but I say it all the time.

Maybe that is one of the things I love most about children. They are a bright white canvas, a clean slate with futures to draw and paint.

I wish I would have realized more of that when my own girls were young. I would have made sure to use brighter colors, more reds and blues and sunshine yellow. I wonder if they will remember how we started and think about how we are finishing.

I hope they remember being squished into a small bed with satin pink sheets and a white wicker headboard reading, Are You My Mother? and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, over and over and over.

I hope they will remember to keep that childlike wonder, where anything is possible. Keep turning pages.