My 9-year-old daughter ran from the school bus stop asking, “Mom when you skip, how do you start, with a hop or a jump?” As if this question had the State of Emergency written all over it. I had to think about it since I hadn’t skipped in a zillion years.
And making friends is a cinch. Two 9-year-olds holding hands at a park, playing “best friends” before they ask each other’s name. What’s her name, Sally? Mom, does it really matter?
We head to the park and she swings with gusto as if touching her toes to the sky; and I find myself sitting on the sidelines, watching her from an uncomfortable park bench; wondering how long she wants to play. Yawn. How fun is that? I must seem so boring in her eyes. Poor mom. She can’t skip or swing.
We graduate from college and are handed the Key to the “Hamster Wheel of Life” and start spinning: work, carpool, kids, repeat, while sitting on the park bench of life, viewing adventure from the sidelines.
Gyah. How sad.
And then one day, I decided to follow my daughter for a couple of hours and see life through her eyes. I should have taken a bigger energy pill, because being 9 is exhausting.
I swung at the park as high as I could go. Pushing and pulling, kicking legs and swaying back. Gripping the chains so tightly, it hurt to let go. A couple of pre-schoolers ran in front of me and I had to ditch the swing, by way of an in-flight escape.
Nothing like trying to jump, while 6 ft in the air, to test the old knees. (Why are you on crutches? Uh, snow boarding down Mt. Everest. I mean, do you really want to say you fell off the swing at the park? I think not.)
I tried to hang from the monkey bars, but apparently, you need a core to do this.
I played chase, hide and seek and rolled from the kitchen to the living room, because – why not.
We jumped on the trampoline and told stories of when we were little. Which was like yesterday for her. We ate ice cream cones under an olive tree and then decided to climb it.
As parents and productive citizens, we obviously can’t spend our days eating ice cream and skipping to work. We have responsibilities of course, like a job, a mortgage and bills to pay. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, take risks and insert adventure from time to time.
Shake off the seriousness, the complaining and the I can’t attitudes.
Life is so full of potential when you’re 9. So full of possibilities.
If we could live life like a 9-year-old, fear would have no hold, in a land where “I cant’s” are never spoken and skipping burns calories without caring.
Learn to live vicariously, like you’re 9 again.
Step away from the park bench of life, take risks – and let go of those mental limits. Points those toes to the sky and start swinging. It’s time to Write Your Story. Share with us how your kids encourage a playful spirit.