We had the chance to see some great storytellers at the National Storytelling Festival this past weekend. We enjoyed the Family Showcase at the Library tent where the stories were focused on childhood experiences or stories children could relate to and enjoy.
Saturday morning, though, was my favorite. I was able to go all by myself and hear two great storytellers. My absolute favorite from the conference has to be Syd Lieberman. He tells personal tales. Personal tales are true experiences from the teller’s life. Syd masterfully weaves heartache and joy into his tales. I was laughing and crying simultaneously through most of his stories.
Tales of Parenthood
His last story was about the seasons of our lives. He reflected on his children and how they’ve grown and what the future holds. As I thought of my two girls playing back at my friend’s house, I was filled with emotion. These years when they are so young are full of exhaustion and emotion. But this stage will pass and where will we be? What will my relationship with each girl look like? Will Sammi like me? Will she trust me enough to confide in me?
I was filled with a renewed desire to connect with the girls while they are young. The dishes can wait. Toys will be played with again, anyway. Dinner doesn’t need to be fancy. It really is about how we spend our time with our little ones. What are we sharing with them? What traditions are we perpetuating from our own childhood and developing in our new family?
We read. I have always loved books. I’ve been lucky enough to have two girls who took to them as quickly and lovingly as I did. We love reading our favorite stories again and again. I’m much better at reading a story than recounting it from memory. Brent tells an amazing Three Little Pigs, but I much prefer to read the stories I share. But as I listened to Syd Lieberman tell stories from his life, I felt a connection to storytelling I hadn’t felt before.
I can do this!
As I sat there, I thought, “I can do this. I can tell the girls stories from our life. I can keep memories alive by sharing those stories again and again.” And in reality, that’s what parents do day in and day out. Sometimes it isn’t very glamorous telling our little ones again and again that we always brush our teeth, or that we always pick up our toys. But those are stories of who we are, of how we live life. At other times we relive vacations or holidays or trips around the city through stories.
My goal this week is to think of a story or two from my early years that I can share with the girls. And then share it everyday. What personal stories do you share with your children?