The first seven years
“The first seven years of our lives form the emotional foundations we build our lives upon.” Says Canadian Doctor Gabor Mate. “And the first three years form our emotional floor. If these are solid, grounded, stable, we are able to withstand all of life’s emotional storms.”
My dad brought me home from a stormy birth the first of March.
He gave me a home, a discipline, and a work ethic.
A soft heart for a sister and a hard head for a brother.
By seven, he’d taught me all I needed to know.
How to express the joy of living in song.
How to whistle while you work.
How to make others laugh.
How to hug, hold and be held.
How to notice the wonders of the universe in its tiniest detail,
and in its awesome wonder.
Who to regard as its Maker, our Mother.
Told me his father’s stories.
Showed me how to craft a fireside tale.
Coached me while I kicked and sputtered into a swimmer.
Handed me two giant wooden oars, taller than me,
and let me learn to row a heavy boat alone.
Shared with me how books were sometimes our best companions.
How imagination made an adventure out of an ordinary day.
Taught me to use tools and take care of them.
To make things with scraps
and the pleasures of scrounging.
The comforts of a canvas roof in the rain.
The challenge of making do with ashes in your eggs.
Most of all, he kindled in me a profound thankfulness.
How to see the gift in every circumstance.
And for all these building blocks in the house that’s become me
– I’ll be forever thankful.
My protector, my provider, my camp counsellor, my hero, my dad.
Allan David Smith-Reeve