Ιωάννα ( Joanna ) and I.
She has the biggest eyes I have ever seen. They are round and they are dark brown. Her eyelashes compliment the majesty of their bright presence. Those beautiful eyes either emulate joyousness or sorrow. Regardless, if they are being truthful or not. I cannot help but be sucked into a lie – knowingly.
Alas, as if she’s the only one.
I have a weakness. A weakness I often neglect and don’t acknowledge or allow myself to forget.
I wouldn’t call it a downfall. In more ways than one, it’s a blessing. One I wouldn’t give up for the world. You see, my heart explodes the moment I receive the attention of a child or children. They leave me bruised and ruin by the simplicity of their hearts, minds and souls.
On many occasions, I’ve found myself furious and in pain. Sometimes, I think I pull myself away from working with children because their parents aggravate me.
Dear parents – your children can feel loneliness, the weight of disappointment, hurt. They too have feelings. Although, young and seemingly ignorant, they are not. Do you know, all their actions reflect you? Their first observance and studying of another person (other than themselves) is you, mom and dad. They watch and then take action. If they yell, it’s because they saw you raise your ignorant voice.
And so, when she heard the words, “Christiana, ready to go?”
“Yeah,” she came running back into the room with tears.
She might have been driving me to craziness, but her tears weighed down my heart. I’d go crazy just to unburden this little five-year old.
“Don’t go, don’t go, don’t go,” she said, her eyes shined from her tears.
I pulled her near. Brushed her long hair behind her shoulders and squeezed her.
“I don’t want to play on my own again,” she muffled out.
“Shhh,” I soothed her. “I have to, but we’ll play again. When you come back, okay?”
She didn’t want to listen. She continued to disagree and cry. I learned (as I should remember) tonight, you can’t really reason with five-year olds. They don’t really care for logic.
“What’s going on?” Her grandma came in the room and I knew this wasn’t going to be good. I didn’t want to say anything, but of course I did.
“She just doesn’t want me to go…” I spoke, quietly – still holding her close.
“Look,” her voice raised immediately and I wanted to close the young one’s ears. There was no reason for her to be yelled at for nothing she had done or said was wrong. She just didn’t want to be alone – to play alone. “Christiana’s mom wants her too. You can’t be the only one who has her. What are those tears for? Stop.” Pause. The grandma turned to get pajamas out of the shelf. “Now, let’s get you changed.”
Meanwhile, as her grandma spoke, the little one rubbed her eyes dry. Sucking up her upset feelings. Refusing to let another tear flow. Keeping herself from showing her true emotions. I secretly wondered how many times she’d been scolded for reasonable tears. For tears, any human being would shed.
The older woman left.
She moved to the bed and got her pajamas.
“Hey, it’s okay to cry,” I told her.
Before I left that house, I gave her a kiss and told her I love her. If a hug could solve all problems, I wish mine had.
I realized a truth – children are capable of the same emotion as I am. She could feel the deep root of loneliness and crave the present of another person. Each human needs attention, needs love.
I’m so terrified of one day having the blessing of bearing and/or raising my own children. For, I am driven by emotions of distress and love for children who I may only see once. And thinking of having my own, I’m not sure how my heart will bear.