Out of the Mouths of Babes
Last night, I don’t remember at which point – whether it was bedtime, or one of the other two times I was lying with my three year old putting her back to sleep after stomach pains and bouts of throwing up – but she turned to me with her sweet sleepy face, and said, “You are not a kid anymore”.
Really. Where do they come up with these things? Why did my three year old make such an observation? What part of her brain was developing new synapses as she made this out-of-self observation and state it as if she herself is a scientist making an obvious non-essential discovery?
That is one wonder. A phenomenon I observe constantly as my brood grows and develops. How their brains work, the amazing process of watching them realize something that has always existed but their immature brains had not yet discovered. Their curiosity and simultaneously excited and blasé approach to the new discoveries of their ever expanding exciting new world. This holds true for my younger offspring as it does my teenagers; incredible to watch as it unfolds.
But here’s the second wonder. My wise“baby” hit on something that has been in my awareness for a while now, but from the flipside. I have been recently increasing my awareness of my playfulness, or lack thereof. As a mother of 6 active, strong-willed children spanning an array of ages and stages, I have, unwittingly, sunken into the routine of over-responsibility. So as not to be misunderstood, I love playing games with my children, going to the park, reading stories, and doing 500-1000 piece jigsaws with them. Going to the zoo, hiking, vacationing. However, my overall level of playfulness, on an ongoing basis, is low. By playfulness I mean carefree, fun, spontaneous, and not overly serious. I am not looking to be in playful mode all the time. I am looking to increase the levels of fun and carefree-ness that I inject into the daily routine of our lives.
My daughter stated it on the flipside. I am not a kid anymore. My physical size and age state that obviously. But on a heart level? The statement is also true, and would have bitten if I hadn’t already been aware and working on it. (Or perhaps, I would not have felt it on this level at all, as unawareness would have masked it over…)
But I am aware, and using opportunities daily to teach me awareness. That’s the first step. Then, recognizing my playful “muscle”. And then, making my list of ways to practice this, since this muscle is out of practice: Sit on the floor (to both be at their eye level and get into play mode – and also so that the dishes and mess are out of view so they can’t chatter at me “clean me up!!” :-). Say yes more. Invite more laughter in to my and my family’s life. Do things with mindfulness/intention of making us all happier.
This is perhaps the main focus of my personal growth right now.
Is this an issue for you as well? Have you unknowingly covered up that childish playfulness that we were all born with, over the years? It’s still there. We all have our inner child, inside. We never outgrow it, we simply grow around it. Let’s together reconnect with our inner child and bring more fun and spontaneity into our and our families’ lives.
I don’t know about you, but I want to hear my kids saying, “Oh, Mom, you’re such a kid!”.
With love and serenity,