Haf’ta Share

     When I was a very young child I remember being told that I “HAD to share”…. even when I didn’t want to. Regardless of my own inclinations to hold onto my precious possessions, my parents knew best, of that I am sure. So, sharing was the social requirement. Yes, I was very young.
     It was when my children were of a similar age that I realized that “having” comes before “sharing”. While eating dinner at a restaurant one evening (can’t really call it dining with a three-year-old tot in tow), my aunt and I were catching up on family news; my daughter, Kate*, was flirting with the child in the booth behind us. As the neighbor child went reaching for Kate’s new toy, my precious little girl loudly proclaimed, “MINE.”
     That response was obviously contrary to southern etiquette required for properly raised children in my family. My aunt spoke up while I was still observing the wants of two youngsters vying for the object of desire. With a smile on her face, she insisted Kate share her toy, to which my lovely child, just as adamantly replied, “MINE”. Recognizing that this could quickly become a clash of wills with volume, I stepped up to the parenting plate.
     “It’s okay,” I said to Kate, “You don’t have to share.” Again, not a response common to the well bred according to accepted family protocols, my aunt being the reigning authority at the table. I could tell this not because I’d read that book of etiquette, but due to the mild shock on my aunt’s face and her flustering for words with which to offer me correction. But then, it’s also not the best of manners to dress-down your niece in a public venue, either.
     I looked at my dear aunt and said what seemed plain to me, having lost my copy of the Rules for Contemporary Southern Propriety. Knowing my daughter to be a generous child, and watching her in her negotiations with her new acquaintance, I remarked, “She cannot share until she has an experience of it being hers, owning it. It’s so new, it’s not real to her yet, her bond is too fragile to risk breaking by letting it go. When she’s lived with it a bit, she’ll be able to offer it to others and still know it belongs to her. Just, not yet.”
     Everyone calmed down. My aunt was reassured, my child was reassured and our little family concluded a successful mealtime experience in a public venue without taking center stage. Yippeeee!!!
     Over the past 15 years “having to share” has continued to evolve to a meaning revised from that which I held as a youngster. I haf’ta share, not as proper etiquette or in compliance with family rules of order, but simply because I must. Others have asked with various voices, and at this point, I’m happy to share what I have. Hopefully my musings will find their way to being useful. So, as I continue to practice life, the Life Practice blog is launched. A canvas to paint, with colors common to us all, the pictures I’ve come to claim as “mine.”
     We’ll see what happens.

* After spending years teaching my children to protect their identity on-line, my daughter has expressed her desire that I not use her real name. What can I say? So I’ve opted to use the name I had planned on calling her, but that a more fitting one came along before I could implement my plan. Here’s my chance. Those who know her will recognize her in spirit if not her nomen.

Posted in Uncategorized on 05/26/2009 05:00 pm

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