Sunday, 5 September 2010

Castles in the sand

Hmmm, I am in one of those liminal moods when I don't know exactly what I'm wanting to write about. I know I want to write but what should I say?

I'm back on the silvery sand of yesterday, braving the cold wind, watching two children of six and five build a castle with walls and turrets, a moat, outer buildings, and part of a town. They dug furiously, and concentrated with fierce intent, and I thought how amazing children are. What magnificent beings and how we short-change them by trying to impose our views of the world on them and make them conform to whatever passes for reality with us.

We should be led by them, not leading them. They are fresh and joyous. They have yet to discover cynicism and discontent.

Of course, I love being with small/young children. I find them totally fascinating: I adore the way their minds cope with new things and weave stories about the world.

I was asked, as I built up the walls under my captain's directions, what the objects were on top of the walls which my other captain was carefully hefting into place. "I don't know," I said, rather torn between saying a sand castle and trying to recall the word I thought she might be meaning. The little captain said, "It's a turret," and her older brother said, "I can't believe anyone wouldn't know that was a turret."

But, because I helped with the sandy constructions I was thanked by the captain saying, "This is the best castle ever. That's what we need. Team-work. This is excellent."

I felt I was forgiven by letting them down about the turrets.

It took me back to my own dear ones at that age. Priceless and precious though they are in their teens (and I do like teenagers), they are so interesting when they are close to babyhood, although every age and stage brings its enjoyments.

I remind myself never to forget what miracles they are. How much I love them. How I would do anything I could do for them. How I want them to unfold and grow into the best people they can be.

I remember what it is to really savour being a mum. And someone who watches a dear young great niece and nephew on the beach and is taught by their little faces which are lit up by the thrill of achievement as they create forts and castles and half a town before the tide comes in.


  1. This is what good memories are made of. These are the memories that give serenity later in life. More children should have these days and have them far more often.