Both my children were very much planned and desired babies. I desperately – more than anything – wanted to become a mother. But what I didn’t anticipate was how much fun the kids would be. Now years past the baby and toddler stage, I returned from another long school meeting to my children reading beside the wood stove. The younger daughter, when she looked up at me, immediately launched into the rather long and complicated plot of the novel she’s reading.
She rubbed her fingertips over the pages and said, I love this book.
I love that she loves this book. Of course I do – I’m a writer and a reader myself – and, for better or worse, I know parents often desire their children to be at least somewhat like themselves. Beyond myself, though, this child at 10 is opening up into her own person, too excited at night to sleep because she’s excited for school the next day. She’s curious and questioning and articulate about her world, living more deeply into what a writer calls POV: point of view. Her POV is her lens of the world, dynamic and shifting and, generally, infinitely interesting to me.
What’s most intriguing is that this child is decidedly not me, that she’s her own unfolding person. By the roadside this morning, on the way to school, she released a mouse from the trap. Look, mama, she insisted. The mouse is cute, really.
I crouched down beside my child and joined her point of view for a moment. The mouse, I saw, was perhaps not that vile, after all….
Take point of view. Editors will breezily comment that POV is child’s play, that naturally one is on top of simple stuff like that. But one is not. POV is far more subtle, complicated, and permanent….
–– Thomas McCormack