That was Nathan’s question to me this evening. He was trying to figure out how to reel in our children when they get a bit intense. But I think it also pertains to my now.
Here were my anecdotes.
I told him, just what you see: art, music, sunshine, playing outside, pets, meditation. All the things I do now for calm or serenity.
Then I elaborated.
I told him of playing school or playing house. Building huts out of dining chairs and blankets. Sometimes my brother was told to humor me and play with me, but often I pretended alone, and my checkers bear and other stuffies would take the place of my family or students.
We often played in the sandbox together, running matchbox cars and construction equipment to build a little town. The houses simply being broken plastic Easter eggs, or other objects.
My childhood meditations were laying in sunbeams watching dust flecks float. I told myself they were fairies’ dust.
I colored and painted and drew pictures galore, burning through dozens of coloring books, but also watched Bob Ross everyday when mom slept- up until I started school.
I played on my tiny keyboard for hours, sometimes playing the same handful of notes over and over again. Mom also played music for me. My most notable musical memories were:
1) the Sesame Street kids song album, especially Bert and Ernie’s “Rubber Ducky Song”
2) the Burl Ives “Little White Duck” album, especially the song “Muffin Man”
I remember those two albums played on repeat most days. These days my musical repitoire is much more diverse.
Pets, they did everything with me, at least that was inside. (Our kitties growing up were indoor only.) My one kitty even begrudgingly let me dress her in doll dresses, and once in a while I could get her to lay in the doll stroller/crib, though she barely even fit. She was my constant companion and first non-familial love. She was also my reprieve from all the things that stressed me in any way or brought me down emotionally.
I played Barbies and my brother would come wage war on them with his GI Joe’s. When he’d blow them up with a pretend bomb, I would end up with dismembered Barbies that I was incapable of putting back together. I would run crying to Mom and she’d make him fix them. Eventually my Barbies had been exploded so many times they wouldn’t stay together right and legs would just fall off in trying to dress them.
I remembered playing tag of a wide variety with neighbor kids, “hide and go-seek” too. Often running like mad through several yards.
When we got a little older we began collecting legos and I spent many hours of many years building things with legos. I again made lots of houses.
I would hike up dirt piles like mountains, playing king of the mountain with my brother. I would also play under the porch in my own little pretend world.
We built snow forts in winter and had fun snowball fights. My brother would drag me around in the sled because no hills ever existed for us- we didn’t live by any and in winter it was always too dark by the time dad was home to drive to any.
In the summer we swam at the lake and played on the beach, our first access to a pool was when I was in 4th grade and we took swimming lessons for the first time.
Even in school, many of my favorite activities were these handful but brought to current variations with my age. Those are the essential activities that brought me much joy in my childhood.
It seems my handful is still accurate, but now includes yoga and salt baths. I am appreciative that I’ve been able to regain access to my lost loves these past few years. Adulting is much more fun when your spirit gets to play a little.
May you have fun moments of play, even in adulthood. May you see your memories of fun activities as pertinent to your now. May you appreciate the things that bring you joy. May you find your children’s favorite things, and share in the joy those things being to your kids. May you find activites you all share enjoyment of. May you see that God loves and supports you in all things.