Inside every one of us is an “inner child”. It’s that little part of you that still squeals when you shoot down a roller coaster or when you try on one of the kid’s halloween props to get a laugh. It’s that part of us that we often let “die” as we enter adulthood.
I have to ask myself “why”? Why do we feel that “adulthood” clearly demands us to “grow up”? That is somehow calls us to abandon the childlike fun that we truly enjoy.
But…what would happen if we “tapped” into that part more often.
Could we truly relieve some of the stress that prevades our adult lives? Could we have deeper, wordless conversations with our children? with our spouses?
I was about to find out the other day..
We were invited to a bonfire with the school of some of my nieces and nephews. As I passed this huge swing set with my husband, I grabbed one swing and sat down. “How about a few pushes?” I said to my husband. I thought it would be really romantic. Little did I know that his “inner child” ( a natural troublemaker) was about to spoil this moment. My children looked on as I sailed through the sky, laughing at how high I was. After popping out of my seat three times, I was screaming to “get off!” However, the hubs was enjoying this too much. Every time I begged to get off, he pushed harder and faster. I tried to kick him, as my words were proving worthless, and he eventually slowed down. Pure fear and dizziness had overtaken me, but he was filled with pure delight.
His smile, although devilish, was so attractive. I was experiencing so many emotions: fear, anxiety, excitement….it was also somewhat thrilling. It made me realize that I don’t have enough of these moments of “childlike” fun.
I believe that this is the beauty of having children. They can “spark” these beautiful memories of childhood within us. We can relive our own joys and sorrows while we watch them engage in similar memories.
Today I realized too late that my son had flag football practice. I had no time to grab anything to “occupy” the two little girls so they would have to just run around.
Well, the school, where they were practicing, had these big, beautiful “perfect for climbing” trees. I looked over as I saw the two older girls dangling from two branches….their hair hanging and blowing in the wind. It took me back to visiting my grandmother and climbing this huge tree in her house. I would dangle, similarly, from that tree and look to see how low my long hair hung.
While the big girls climbed the tree, Mini me and Miss Missy were running around with branches from the trees….they had become “witches” and those branches had quickly become “brooms”. I watched for the next 30 minutes as they were filled with pure joy. The gentle breeze blowing their hair….their giggling and laughter being enjoyed by all the parents present.
I watched as Mini me found one tree that had a collection of leaves at its base. She ran quickly and threw herself onto that pile, throwing up leaves and laughing as they fell onto her hair and clothes. She was in pure delight. As soon as the other girls saw her, they took off running for that pile. Working together, they helped create a bigger pile to jump into.
And watching this, brought me back to these pictures……
DDD, Sweet Pea, and the Fashionista as little ones playing in the leaves…
They LOVED the fall and spent hours in the leaves….
Holding all these thoughts in my heart, along with my own love for piling up the leaves and “jumping in”, I went running over to the girls.
I told Miss Missy that I was going to lay down in the leaves, and she could bury me. She was so excited. As she started to pile the leaves on my body, I heard the Fashionista say, “Whose idea was this?”. “Mom’s!”, I heard Miss Missy squeal. Then eight hands started piling on more and more leaves…giggles and laughter ensued. I laid there…..just enjoying all those sounds. One by one, each child was buried and then enjoyed the excitement of jumping up and shaking off the leaves.
“Mom…did you do this as a kid?” Sweet Pea said.
“I sure did! And the bigger the pile, the better!!” I answered.
The sky turned dark and the sweaty boys were dismissed to their parents….and as we climbed back into the van, I reached over to grab a leaf out of the Fashionista’s hair. “Seems like you wanted to take this home…..Were you playing in leaves today?”
Her smile said it all.
I realized today how important it is to share these memories with my children. I need to not be just the face behind the camera….but the one under the leaf pile.