Sunday, August 21, 2016

What the Child Wants! ... And other Musings over Milk and Meatloaf

If only you could go back, like in the play “Our Town,” and be present for your childhood, knowing then what you know now. Such little bodies, such newly developing minds, we didn’t know how to put words to match our feelings, needs and hearts’ requests. We didn’t know how to communicate our desires, our confusion, our misgivings, our utter distaste for milk and meat loaf.

Well OK, maybe, we found a way. Crying, stomping our feet, pushing that meat loaf onto the floor. But those other communications – those tender subtle, and hidden things we may understand now, but not comprehend back then. All we knew – many times – was that something felt right or wrong inside.

We wanted things. I wanted things. For it's true 40 … 45 years ago, I was a child. And, if I could have had it my way, as I know it now, I would have wanted to say certain statements and hear certain statements.

Hear certain statements like:
  • Good job Jimmy.
  • That elephant picture you drew could be hung in a museum of art.
  • Oh, it sure looked like an elephant to us ... well, it STILL could go in a museum of art.
  • We want to hear from you, and know what you are thinking, believing and feeling.
  • We value your individuality and unique perspective on the world.
  • Tell us what you see.
  • Show us who you are.
  • What is your dream today?
  • We love you with all your different ways of being.
  • What a joy it is to have you with us.
Say certain statements like:
  • No more milk please – I am lactose intolerant.
  • I am not believing these vaccinations are helping me – look at my poofed-up arm.
  • I have much to say and much to learn, and I really need the space and patience to grow.
  • I am not alone in my growing pains, am I?  Can we all share with each other what is really going on with us?
  • I wanted to be born, and I chose you all for a purpose. Can we find that purpose, honor it, cherish it, live it and then celebrate it?
  • I love being here – you people are a treasure to me.
  • I love you all.

But alas, the days are past. Over 40 years later, the time has come and gone. The bodies have grown bigger, the minds and hearts have developed as they did. What we can do with those statements now? Now that time has past, our bodies have grown, our crying out loud only coming on lonely nights in the dark alone? 

It must be too late. 

Or is it? Do we still have the time and space to use such sentiments for the good of not only ourselves but the collective as well? What can be done with expressions wanted so long ago from a voice that could not yet be heard? I would say ... speak them now. Say to another what you wanted to hear! Use those statements, don’t let them go to waste. Whatever they are for you. We can still use them – even the milk and meatloaf ones – not for the past times but for the present times, with those in front of us today.

We can bring it to our birth family; we can bring it to our new family – our own children, nephews, nieces and cousins. We can bring it to young ones we meet at parties, gatherings and events. At the market. Everyone – the young and the old – can be gifted with the sentiments we always wanted share. For a “new family,” seen every day, in every face, we can say what we’ve always wanted to say, hear what we’ve always wanted to hear, be what we’ve always wanted to be.

James Anthony Ellis - writer and producer living in San Diego - now enjoys soymilk and Tofurkey. His next book about "miscommunication" arrives October 2016. He can be reached at

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