Family Practice: Part of your worldWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | email@example.com
Attention, please. I have a very special gift for all of you. Her name is Lucy.
As bittersweet as it is for me, I’m taking the first steps to hand her over to the world at large. I’m handing her over to all of you. Right now, I’m just loaning her out five hours a week by way of preschool, to be precise, so you personally might not have the chance to enjoy her just yet.
When you do finally have the pleasure of meeting my Lucy, enjoy her you will. She comes with a smile that can light up a room and the words and expressions to captivate it. She wears her goodness on her sleeve and she loves you, all of you, or, as she likes to say, “everyone in the whole wide world.” I know that loving everyone in the whole wide world seems unlikely and cliché, but one just can’t help but believe it coming from sweet little her.
Lucy is coming to you with open arms, so please be sure to embrace her back. In fact, for all she has to give, what she needs in return is fairly simple. She just wants you to play with her, laugh with her, keep her safe and love her. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
While I’m at it, I’d like to put good words in for my other children, Jack and Laney. They already have a few worldly years under their belts, but I worry about them just the same. What they have to give and what they’d like to get are a little different from Lucy, my littlest one, for the way each of my children wishes to interact with the world is as unique as they are.
Jack doesn’t need anything special. He gives and takes at face value, only struggling when things stray too much from the concrete. Perhaps surprisingly, he couples his straightforwardness with healthy doses of compassion and consideration for each and every one of you. He does have a bit of an Irish temper on him, however. If you ever come face to face with it, look out, but also be thankful. It means that he loves you enough to let you in and see it, which makes you one of the lucky ones.
And then there’s my Laney. Rarely does she take on the world with open arms, so you’ll have to be the one to walk up and embrace her. She secretly loves and needs it more than anyone else. Don’t get me wrong about her capacity to give; she has things to offer the world so wondrous that I am only privy to their inceptive sparks. As best I can tell, she is someone who will make you want to practically pull your hair out on the surface while she quietly and unassumingly changes the world for you in new and magnificent ways. She is well worth the extra work it sometimes takes to grasp her.
It’s hard to believe that it is actually time to include little Lucy in my “World, Please Look Out for My Children” wishes. I thought ages 0 to 3 for my first two children whizzed by rather quickly, but I feel like those same years for my third child were scarcely a blink in Father Time’s eye. The swiftness of it all is no doubt a bit unsettling.
As much as I know that my children need me to give up some of the responsibility of shaping them to the rest of the world at some point, it always seems to come too soon and the prospect of my work being overwritten seems so risky. By no means do I want you to go too easy on them, however. Allowing them to fly through life’s chapters unchallenged may leave them to wonder what the point is or rob them of appreciation for its wonder.
I don’t want you to sugarcoat life for them or hand them rose-colored glasses as they step outside our front door. I want them to recognize life’s beauty without makeup and sans Photoshop. I want them to have the opportunity to take it, as is, and see what they can do with it.
I’m giving you a gift — three gifts actually. All I ask for in return is that you do the best to see the good in them and utilize them to the best of their individual abilities.
Shannon and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.