the world, as they see it


I sometimes catch my children staring quietly out of the car window. It is mysterious how the senses and images they experience each day will be incorporated into their memories. Their ideas about the world are wildly forming. As a mother, it is humbling to have such an integral role in the whole process.

I remember as a young girl riding in the back seat of my dad’s jeep. I remember road trips through the tall grasses of Georgia and South Carolina, listening to Bruce Hornsby and Paul Simon. I remember how the southern landscape became a part of my bones, how I came to associate certain stretches of the road with comfort and familiarity. Sometimes my dad would turn off the music and tune into an SEC football game. The sounds of the AM broadcast, the whistles and roaring crowds, still remind me of him and those nostalgic autumn afternoons.

I’ve introduced my children to some new bands this week. I checked a few albums out from the library and we’ve been making our way through them, savoring each one. This morning, we listened to The Decemberists.

Here’s a hymn to welcome in the day
Heralding a summer’s early sway
And all the bulbs all coming in
To begin

We found a turtle crossing the road as we drove out of our neighborhood. We stopped and the children touched its hard shell and scaly legs. Later, as we drove through town, I found Lucy staring out the window as we passed strip malls and stop signs. How will these little moments during the day nourish and grow her unique perception of life? How will these sights and sounds become a part of who she is? Life is a mystifying mosaic of senses. We each hold it differently.

What is the world, as my children see it? What is the world, as you see it?

3 thoughts on “the world, as they see it

  1. Libby—I just got hooked into your blog and love it! Your talent and depth are amazing—Chris did such a good thing when he found you.

  2. Fascinating post and questions, Libby. And what a magical process to be part of! This reminded me of when I was 13, and we had an author come to speak to our class. She told us that our most formative memories happen by the age of 15 – and that we should mine those memories for writing ideas.

    I was alarmed I had only 2 years left to gather writing ideas!

    Given the fodder I find every day for blog posts, I’m not convinced she’s 100% right. But point taken that ordinary days, for whatever reason, can become extraordinary in childhood.

    This was beautifully written. I really enjoy your writing.

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