Saturday, 22 April 2017

Referred Growing Pains

Let me think.... no, I don't recall ever experiencing growing pains.

I remember going through a phase (don't ask me at what age - probably 5 or 6) where I wondered if I was really my parents' child. I thought perhaps I had been adopted or was part of some great social engineering experiment that everyone knew about and that I would read about one day. I might even be a strange fish from another star - you never know!

Such ontological speculations never caused me any grief and are probably fairly common for many kids. (When we are very young we just don't realise how much we look like our parents - it's a dead giveaway, if only we could spot it.)

Then there was the school field-trip to the Peak District aged 11 when I set off with a pair of size 8 shoes and returned from Castleton Youth Hostel with a pair of size 9 shoes instead - identical style and colour, don't know how it happened. It didn't hurt me but it must have caused some discomfort to the other poor unfortunate.

Therefore when it comes to growing pains I can only tell you about referred pain - that which a parent feels as she or he (in my case) agonises over the slights, setbacks, upsets and calamities that beset our children as they grow into the world. It really hurt (then and now) to see them suffer; and such referred pain is no respecter of degree, being felt over minor tribulations and major disappointments alike.

I won't embarrass anyone by citing specific examples, though there are many. It is enough to say this is how it was (and is). I'm sure all parents can relate to the phenomenon. It is born out of love for one's children and the instinct or desire to shield them from hurt. I'm sorry if any of the hurt was ever down to me.

A ceramic tile from dusty Crete
There are many things I like about starfish (asteroidea). One of them is their power of regeneration. If they lose a limb/pointer/tentacle they are capable of growing another one. They've been doing it for 450 million years. Fantastic and inspiring. The most lovely starfish we ever saw were huge colonies at a boulder-strewn beach on the Pacific seaboard in Oregon state.

This poem was written some summers ago for my daughters. It extends the biblical trio of faith, hope and charity (love) by two further factors. They've never seen it - until today. In fact nobody has seen it before...

Starfish Symmetries
a starfish lay in a tidal bay
gazing up through eternity
as the ocean of heaven
swept overhead

a starfish lay in a shallow sea
gazed upon by you and me
five-pointed symbol of endurance
and the power of recovery

you are beautiful creatures both
conceived in love
and raised in hope

if I can give you pointers
how to live your lives
I would name these five:
be honest
be hopeful
be loving
be happy
be kind -

and if you ever find
you're dealt a blow by fickle fate
then like the starfish we beheld,
be resolute, regenerate

Thanks for reading, Steve ;-)


Annie Walton said...

This is beautiful Steve!

Your words, your imagery, and your dedication !

I may have said this before to you ( you are an amazing wordsmith!) I feel it could also be a song ..... would you object to some music wrapping its arms around it and perhaps an old folky singing it ? ahem......
Annie xx

Anonymous said...

Lucky girls. I wish my dad had written something as lovely as that for me.

Anonymous said...

Very moving Steve.

Anonymous said...