Last night Juliana was singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. She sings the first line and looks to us to sing the rest. Because of this song, she sees spiders and their webs and gets excited calling out “Bitsy”. It has brought us so much joy and wonder at how smart this little one is.
She has moved on the attempt the next line of the song. “Down came the rain…” however, she gets a little confused because she likes the part where I sing “washed”. So there were a few times that the line came out “down came the washed”, then it was “down came the what”. Later in the evening, before bed she began the song again to insert her new version that includes the line “don’t give up”. Then as children do, she was like a little broken record repeating this phrase again and again; “don’t give up”, don’t give up”, “don’t give up”.
At first I corrected her saying down came the rain and then listened to her, to the sentiment. My mind was blown. Is this a mere mistake of wording and sound or has she learned a lesson from this song, from this “Bitsy” – don’t give up. Is it possible that my 19 month old is this profound or is it a funny coincidence?
“Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up”.
I spent that past 24 hours reflecting on this little mantra of hers. I hadn’t thought I was giving up on anything but as I looked at my life right now, I realised that maybe it is the little defeats, the small ways that I relinquish, or no longer stay invested in what could be something great. Am I that spider continuaously on a heroic journey even when I am deciding whether or not to do my sit-ups, brush my hair, drink water instead of coffee, think good thoughts, finish a task, fold the laundry, put my shoes away, floss, laugh a little more, eat better, pray and say thank you, do the dishes, write letters, smile at strangers, breathe through it all…
Maybe the boring tasks of life that help preserve my sanity and heal my soul are thus monumental in the bigger scope. Maybe I am that spider climbing a water spout in a rainstorm. As I reshape ‘the dream’ each day and embrace what the world has to offer, I can be positive, tenacious and hopeful.
It is also quite coincidental that recently I took another certification exam for teaching to extend the possibilities of what I am allowed to teach. I had to write an essay on a poem that I had to memorize in graduate school. At first I was relieved during the exam that I was already familiar with the poem. However, I had to memorize it for a voice class in Acting school. I had made a connection to it but now, now I was wearing the poem like my skin. Seriously, while I read and reread that poem during this exam, I was fusing myself into it. The poem is about a spider. I have looked at so many spiders ( Bitsys ) lately so it seemed chosen just for me.
A Noiseless Patient Spider -Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider, I mark’d where on a little promontoryit stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself, Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them, Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
The universe is speaking. through spiders, through teacher certification exams, through my daughter. The universe is speaking and I am listening.
don’t give up…
original post 20 June 2013