There’s a million ways. An infinite number of moments to say yes–to breathe life into dreams. Sometimes I have to say no. Sometimes I can’t be fully present or give my all and I have to step back. But I’m hoping my yeses outweigh the no’s.
We’re camping right now. Out in the woods of Tennessee enjoying slightly cooler weather and being unplugged from life a little bit. Although I did manage to find Free People on sale, get decent coffee and internet along the way. But before all that happened we took our kids down to the lake to swim. They laughed and played and built sandcastles. As we were getting ready to walk back to the campsite Doug showed Matthew a frog. He fell in love with the thing and wanted to bring it with us. We didn’t have anything to put it in and since our campsite is near the other side of the lake, there are also tons of frogs over there. We could find another one.
My boy is sweet. He’s a gentle, kind-hearted soul. So he was going to let his frog go because he understood we didn’t really have a way to carry it and it was a long walk back, and we could find another. He felt sad but he understood as much as his little heart could. And something in me roared to life in that moment. I told him I’d carry this frog back to the campsite for him.
His whole face lit up. I had just given him the world. We talked about his frog on the long walk back. I helped him pick out a name (Fishlegs) and told him how his frog was a wily little one, finding the cracks in my fingers and pushing his nose through, trying to escape. I had entered his world. In a small way, I had given him a moment that showed him I cared about what mattered to him. I love my son. I take care of him. I wash his clothes. I feed him. I give him good things and make sure he’s safe. But I feel like it’s these moments where he feels seen and heard. It wasn’t hard to carry the frog—a little tricky and maybe a little gross—but it would have been so easy to explain it away. “There’s more back there…” “You’ll get another…” “It’s not a big deal, it’s just a frog…”
But it wasn’t just a frog to him. And I feel like by saying yes I kept his child-like wonder alive a little longer. He gets to believe a little more that the world is actually a caring place that will meet his silly froggy dreams.
And sometimes I have to say no because we don’t have time, or I’m tired, or it’s not feasible. But my best moments are when I say yes to the unorthodox, the times when I bend towards my children and lift up the things that are important to them—treasuring them as if they are my own. Those are the moments when my kids feel seen and heard, and where I have connected with them.
I say no a lot.
But I hope I say yes more–a million random yeses so that when they’re older they’ll know their dreams matter to me.