Monday, May 10, 2010

The Kids Are All Right

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Blog This, another group in my online world, asked members to "Name something that makes you want to be a kid again".

My first thought was a flashback of some of the fun things that I did when I was a kid (despite it being a lot longer ago than I like to acknowledge): getting dirty; climbing trees; building cubby houses out of the dining room table (and a couple of sheets); riding bikes with my friends all day long, only stopping for a drink or an icy pole.

Then there was the things I did back then that kids just don't do any more. Like spending a whole day reading (Famous Five or Sweet Valley High or those cool Apple paperbacks); carefully taping songs off the radio to make a mixed tape of perfect songs; sitting through an old musical because it's the ONLY thing on TV that's not sport or religious programming; spending whole days baking lots of different treats for my family and friends; pressing flowers from the garden; making tapestries or sewing together outfits for barbie (or me).

Of course then there's the stuff kids can't do any more; like turning on the hose so we could float little leaf boats down the drains; running around in the sprinklers - ooh, and slip n' slides! (All sadly very taboo in these water restricted times).

But if I really think about it, the thing I miss most about being a kid is not having to worry. It's a cliche but it's true. Life was so much simpler. Because I've been more in touch with my 'fun' side lately, it really makes me realise how much I (we) miss out on as adults.

Of course my problems are pretty overwhelming at the moment. Grief probably puts a more negative spin on it, but even the way we react to grief is telling. The way that all of us adults have reacted is very different to the way Oliver has. I've written about it before (here and here), so I won't say too much, but while he's sad, and talks a lot about Samuel, he doesn't cry, or dwell on it, or get angry at the world. He just gets out his lego and plays; or he cracks jokes; or he sings silly songs and does his best to have fun.

I'm not dismissing Oliver's grief. He does show signs of a deeper pain from time to time, and it's very likely that he'll have a few 'moments' as he goes on through life, and as he matures (and takes on the worries and stresses of adulthood), but for now he's content being a kid. And as I've said time and time again, if there's one thing that I want to (have to) do for Oliver, it's to make sure he has as normal childhood as anyone (who's lost a brother) can.

I've always been the kind of parent that encourages noise and dirt and experimenting. I love it when my kids come home dirty, because it means they've had fun. I filled my house with musical instruments (the noisy, percussive kind) because it meant my kids could be creative. It's certainly backfired on me from time to time, but on the whole it has meant that my kids could be, well, kids.

So the thing that makes me want to be a kid again is the not worrying. I'd like to have fun every day: to explore, play, laugh, sing, be a complete fool...and know that at the end of the day I'm loved and cared for and supported. We grow up, and we forget that we can still do it. Sometimes we're too busy growing up.

If I could go back there, especially now, I think I would. Even if it was just for a holiday.


  1. Hi Mel - I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this post and it brought back lots of great memories of my own childhood. I check your blog every couple of days, and think of you all often. Jess xo


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