First, we got down on the floor and worked on River's school project. As I was helping to sculpt a giraffe out of clay, we giggled about silly things... like whether we should make the giraffe a boy or a girl... and then deciding not to because, according to Miss River, "it might give the immature boys in my class something to laugh at". ;-) Next, we moved on to Hotwheels (yes, Hotwheels!), creating a loop-de-loop track, gleeful every time the little car would complete a run. Ah, the joy of simple goals and successes! As family gathered for her birthday celebration, we spontaneously decided to blast some thumping music, dim the lights, and dance around, carefree and wild like the 9-year-olds we were. Pizza and brownie sundaes followed and then the evening was topped off by a rousing, playful, silly game of "Headbanz" (one of her gifts), where we had to act out and guess words that we wore on our foreheads.
Sometimes I forget how much I love to get lost in play... completely engaged in simple fun. In helping to create this little celebration for River, it brought me back to my inner 9-year-old self. I remember loving being that age! The photo accompanying this blog is of me and my best friend at 9 years old. Playing, laughing, and having fun was so automatic. These days, it's not quite as automatic... and I find myself struggling a bit with balance in that regard. I am not a child anymore, in the sense that I have the responsibility of taking care of myself and others, but I really value the whimsical childlike spirit that's all about being in the moment without a care in the world. It's important! And it's vital to thriving creatively and otherwise. So, in the course of day to day life, how do we surrender to that childlike spirit and still "take care of business"?
Something that comes to mind is intention. I'm not always so great at planning or hard-core structure, but I do like "intending". It comes from a deeper and more conscious place. And I think that's what really marks being a "grown up": having an intention to thrive in this world and taking action on this intention. That's being responsible in my book.
What we can learn from children is their very unintentional way of existing... just being... just playing. It reminds us to let loose once in a while, trusting that our deeper "grown-up intentions" will keep us on track. Just being clear about bigger picture intentions can free us up to enjoy the ride.
Thank you, Miss River. By celebrating your 9-year-old self, you helped me celebrate mine. And maybe... just maybe... I'll wear braided pigtails more often. :-)
How do you stay in touch with your childlike spirit?