Updated: Mar 7, 2020
This morning, I came into the livingroom and my youngest daughter Tarini (nearly ten now) sat at the table, munching on her muesli with one hand and stroking the cat who was lying beside her with the other. Of course, by the time I had taken out my mobile and got the camera app open, Taani had already jumped off the table and the cuter-than-the-world's-best-cupcake picture was never taken. Sigh!
Instead, I sat down beside my Mini Mouse, as I like to call her, and stroked her hair, telling her she was also cute all by herself. After we'd exchanged the usual good morning "I love you's" and kisses, Tarini had a couple more spoonfuls before she suddenly looked outside the window to the garden and said dreamily, "I love waking up in the Eifel (mountains in Western Germany, meaning in the house we often spend a week at in the summer and about which I wrote my book A Magical Family Holiday) because the birds sing so beautifully there. Here, the birds sing beautifully, too. But there are not as many. In the Eifel, there are lots of birds and I just love it when they all sing."
Knowing a great many children who wake up wanting iPhones and designer clothes instead, who scream and rant at their mothers at every opportunity they get, I must stress how vastly blessed I am to have such a daughter, indeed two daughters and a son, who appreciate nature and value positive experiences more than material things. It's not that they don't like nice clothes and electronic devices. They do as any other child would. But it's not the beginning and the end of the world. And when they want something, they ask and don't demand. Which is a much better way of uttering a need or wish because being asked nicely makes you want to provide it all the more for them.
Tarini is a quiet, sometimes introverted personality who loves animals and older adults the most. But she can just as much play with her classmates and set boundaries when she feels someone is overstepping her mark. She loves to hear funny stories from her brother's life and giggles with delight at my humorous tales. It's great fun to have her as a child.
I also love to hear those anecdotes funny, astonishing, scary with a happy ending, or whatever from other parents. I am a collector of children's story in my head. People tend to tell me things. I listen and I find it deeply enriching, as well as often entertaining. Children are fun, smart, wise, crazy, daring, the list goes on. So if you'd ever like to share a story of your own or someone else's child, feel free. I'll read and I'll listen and I'll love it!
In the section on "Beautiful Souls" in my poetry book My Spirit Song: A Spiritual Evolution in Poetic Expression I have published some poems I had written for my children, and one for my stepson who has also grown into a very special young man with a big heart and keen intelligence.
Children can be our greatest teachers and our greatest challengers. Tarini made me promise last year that one of my books I had decided to write in 2016 would be a children's book. It was important to her that she would be able to tell people that her mother had also written a children's book amongst all the adult ones. And it was her who not only inspired this book, How Picasso Makes You A Genius: Conscious Creations for Children in content but also in style.
Out of my three children, Tarini taught me the most clearly, how much better children learn when they have fun and enjoy themselves. As soon as I get her to giggle and laugh, I know, she will never forget. And thus, I wrote this children's book with a great deal of humour, exactly the kind Tarini loves.
I've asked her ever since if she would like for me to translate it into German if that was important for her to have it in her own language. Her answer was, "Don't worry. I will have bilingual English classes at the secondary school after the summer then I can read it myself soon enough without you translating anything. I'm a fast learner and it's important to be able to speak English and read it, too." (Me dropping the mic at this point. Need I say more?)