Yes and No


This is the time of year when I start scratching my head and wondering why we don’t live in, say, California, where it is spring all year round.  I love opening my kitchen door and setting my boys free to entertain themselves with the simplest things.  Sidewalk chalk is king again and the sprinkler has been running all weekend, even if it was only 60 degrees.  Sunday morning, (Mother’s day), I looked out my bedroom window to see two naked boys on the grass in the sprinkler.  Eventually, this turned into a mud fight which included oldest brother, Thomas (11), clothed, but in full military-themed garb.  They were flinging handfuls of mud at each other with such wildness and glee.  I held off intervening as long as I could, enjoying watching from inside, getting to be the one letting them be kids all wild and free, goose-bumped skin caked in mud.

Daily life with children requires so many no’s.  No, you may not eat candy for breakfast.  No, you may not hit your brother even if he is being annoying.  No, you can’t drive the car, you’re three.  No, you can’t yell ball sack (new favorite at our house) over and over at the dinner table even if it makes your brothers die laughing.  No, you may not go on a date, you’re only eleven (What?!  I did not see that one coming).  Contrary to what my children think, I do not enjoy all this nay saying.  But I stand by my no’s. No is not a bad word. No is a part of loving them.

I do hope when my children are looking back on their childhoods, and all the times I said no, they will remember some of the times that I said yes.  I really try.  Not to toys or things they want, or dangerous, questionable activities, but things they do naturally and joyfully. I try to remember to pause for a moment and ask myself, why not?


All this YES talk makes me think of this poem.


4 thoughts on “Yes and No

  1. Oh, I know this feeling … I say no so often, quickly, snappishly, out of instinct. And when I make a deliberate choice to say yes I find the entire texture of our lives changes. For the better. I hadn’t read that poem before – love it. xoxo

  2. Bill and I were talking last week how the first warm day we would always take out the sprinkler and the kids would have a ball. I love the photo! Our kids used to love to skinny dip in our pool on those hot summer evenings. We would barbecue on the deck and when we were done with dinner in they would go. Our yard was nice and private.
    You are right, no is a very important thing for children to learn and they will appreciate it just like you do when you look back on your childhood.

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