Jam and Saudade

I found the following translation based on a Seamas O’Neill (1910-1981) poem. It beautifully sums up a kind of melancholy that’s unique to adults looking at young people they love.

I also appreciate the fallibility of unreasonable anger that I’m sure we all feel at times. I remember particularly with adoption, that feeling of having your house invaded is simultaneously unreasonable and understandable.

On the door handle, sweet jam

I quenched the urge

towards rising anger

And instead, thought of the day

when the door handle will be clean

and the small hand, missing

I share this, this week (a COVID isolation week) because I have been contemplating my children growing up. They have been wowing us with renditions of ‘SIX’ (great show please see it, the rudeness will go over most kids’ heads so it is more like a Little Mix concern, but now they know more about ‘the wives’ than I do). This means making up and dressing up. And I don’t like it.

Dressing up like women you admire is fine and harmless, in general, for little girls. That’s not my issue. My issue is that scares the hell out of me that they look a couple of years older than they are and it reminds me how quickly they grow up.

This may seem more like melancholy philosophy that anything practical but that’s not the case. Having become more aware of my subconscious and conscious want to keep my kids as kids I have also noticed how often it sneaks into every day. Not trusting them with their tablets or making tea even though they are generally very trustworthy. That’s not about them it’s about me. In fact, I should realize the value in showing them trust for their development on relatively low-risk options. Not to do so will, in the long term actually give me less control if they rebel.

It is a cliche that the strictest parents create rebels (and it isn’t true — it’s just more noticeable when these kids rebel) but the central idea that by consciously giving kids some of the independence they desire you can be more involved in their decisions is worthy of merit. The irony is that if this is the only reason you give them this independence, they will see right through it.

Previously published on Medium.com.


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Photo credit: istockphoto.com