new story different view
July 15, 2010 1 Comment
Yesterday I drafted a story to work on with my 7-yr-old grandson about when his Aunt Lyndsay was 7-yrs-old.
It was a time when Lyndsay didn’t know what it meant to move to a new home, a new state. Her older sisters and parents talked about “Moving to Oregon” but maps are boring pictures to a 7-yr-old. The house went on the market in September of 1996 but it didn’t sell fast because the NJ home market had imploded. The delay increased tensions with two teenage girls in the house and drama spiraled high in the spring of ’97.
Lyndsay noticed the adults were always talking, with few smiles, using big words about topics she didn’t understand. Her older sisters were very emotional and lots of stuff happened. Now, at 21, Lyndsay knows the events those weeks before her First Communion were a big deal, but she’s still not sure what actually happened.
It was her turn to wear that special white dress her sisters had all worn when they made their First Communion. In May of ’97 Lyndsay was glad then that the house hadn’t sold so she could celebrate with her classmates.
When I wrote this story yesterday I tried to imagine being 7-yrs old. I printed it with only a few sentences on each page, leaving big blank spaces for my grandson to write or draw anything he wanted. I told him the story shows the lack of control Lyndsay had over the unknown. I know there were times she was sad and scared. Even after the the house sold, and we moved to Oregon from New Jersey, she was displaced for months before she again had her own room, her stuff.
I told my grandson to write or draw whatever he felt about Lyndsay’s story because I know kids his age really like stories where the character can do something to make things better. Maybe he’ll write about what makes him feel better. I’m not sure he’ll do anything with the pages, or even read them, since it is summer and the weather is awesome. I doubt he’ll relate to the desire to wear a white dress.
My grandson currently hears the adults around him using big words, talking about things he doesn’t understand, and we’re not smiling enough. He’s feeling out of control, displaced, maybe even sad and scared. So I wrote Lyndsay’s story for him and it made ME feel better. Lyndsay loves the name she adopted when her nephew was learning to talk, she will now always be, “Aunt Z Z.”
I’m reminded of the resiliency of children. When the adults are focused on the well-being of the child, the child will not only survive but thrive. Someday my grandson will have his own story to read and he and his Aunt Z Z will share their memories of when they were 7.
Maybe neither will have a clue what happened, when they were 7, but trusted the adults knew and fought well for the well-being of the child.