This week I spent some time with two little girls that live in my neighborhood. I had promised one of them I would make rainbow slime with her for her birthday. The one that was almost a month ago – whoops. To be fair I was out of town on the actual date.
As I came in the door the birthday girl popped her face into the front room. She pulled me into to kitchen so we could get all the supplies together. As we prepared her sister called from the front room where she was practicing piano with her mother, “Wait for me! I want to make slime too!” My heart began to dance to her music.
They just adored watching the baking soda, glue, and contact solution transform into slime right before their eyes. We were fairies cultivating these materials into a magical goop. Everything was going great! That was until the birthday girl accidentally spilled the green food dye. “Oh darn it my pants!” I muttered.
It truly wasn’t much of a problem. The majority of it was on my pant leg so cleaning the table and floor was easy enough. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that my cool, new plaid pants were ruined. I did my best to not show it. After all, they were probably like $5 at Goodwill.
We were finally finished cleaning up. I was sitting at the table collecting all the materials to put them away. I felt guilty like I had said something wrong. I realized that the youngest who had spilled the dye wasn’t in the kitchen or living room. So I went to her bedroom and found her lying in bed crying. As my chest caved in, I realized my fears were true. I clearly did a poor job of hiding my sadness.
I gently asked her to get up so I could give her a hug. She obliged. As we embraced I assured her I wasn’t mad at all. In fact what kind of hypocrite would I be if I was? I’m a champion spiller-of-liquids.
She looked up at me with a hopeful smile. I began to think of this poster that is hung above my desk, How to Really Love a Child by Sark. Specifically, I thought of how it says, “Remember how really small they are.”
I encouraged her to go to the bathroom with me so we could try to wash the green spots on her feet. It was kind of in vain but it felt good to make her laugh when I was playing with her feet and being super silly.
Even days later, I keep going back to, “Remember how really small they are.” Even though it was tempting to say something bitter or yell, I didn’t. I’ve been thinking of all the times I’ve ever yelled or someone has yelled at me. It makes me think that maybe myself and the world could benefit from understanding how really small we all are.
Maybe you’ve heard the idea of your inner child inside of you. Today I am reminded of my inner little girl. I’m going to do my best to keep her in mind and especially when I see the other little girls and boys inside of the people around me.
But hey! Not only did I learn a valuable lesson about compassion. My pants survived. So I’d say it was a successful time even if the slime making didn’t turn out as planned.
Here’s to all of our inner children,
PS. Keith Haring is the wonderful man behind the Best Buddies logo.