Slow Down, Dream Big

Super Tent, originally uploaded by blondemom.

I’ve been thinking about Miss C’s 6th birthday in June and what sort of treasures a girl with big dreams and a love for frilly things might like. I know she’d love a pretty jewelry box to safely store all her treasures and she’s crazy about Barbies and a million other typical girly things. The other night, however, she surprised me with the most simple of requests. She mentioned that hubby and I had forgotten to bring home some boxes so she and Miss A construct their own play train in the living room. This was something that had come up during the recent super tent construction in the living room. Miss C had wanted to build a tent, and the hubby made one that rivaled any I’d ever seen. It was a veritable fortress, fashioned with bar stools from our kitchen and an old wooden clothes drying rack draped with blankets and sheets to make a cozy lair to fill with pillows and stuffed animals.

I wonder how many times we unintentionally encourage our children to stifle their imaginations? At one point does it become “uncool” to make a fortress with blankets in the middle of the living room or a train from cardboard boxes? Miss C, especially, is at the age where she’s influenced by pop culture and the media. Her opinion is swayed by her friends and she is developing her own inner barometer of what behavior is acceptable and what is not.

My brother travels to Thailand now after Christmas and lives there for most of the winter. He sent this sentiment in a recent e-mail:

I read an interesting commentary on why life seems to speed up as we get older. It is from a speech by Ani Tenzin Palmo – an Englishwoman, who at the age of 20 became the first Western woman to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. I read a good book of hers called “Cave in the Snow,” about spending 12 years alone meditating in a cave way up in the Himalayan mountains – she now runs a center for nuns in northern India.

When asked “Is that why life gets shorter as we get older?”

“Yes, because we become more and more robotic.When we are small children, everything is so fascinating that life seems to go on forever. Every day is huge…and we are so interested…as we become dulled, as our minds get less and less curious, we go on automatic pilot more and more in our relationships, work, etc…life loses its vivacity and it seems shorter.”

This is very sad, isn’t it? Actually it is the same time. It seems to speed up.

This is an indication of how we are becoming more and more robotic in our responses. In a way it is a warning sign for us to wake up and reestablish that original childlike curiosity and fresh quality of mind.

One thing I love about being a parent is seeing the world through a child’s eyes once again and getting a taste of that magical feeling that life is a grand adventure, and not just an endless series of deadlines and to do lists.

This weekend Miss C and Miss raided the dress up basket and twirled around the house like barefoot princesses, rode bikes up to the neighborhood playground and played with an abandoned golf ball, and dug in the dirt in the backyard with sticks. Their imagination has no tethers, their excitement for life is contagious. As their mother, I am simply honored that I get to come along for the joyride.

28 comments

  1. Elexis says:

    Another great post from the blonde. I never thought about life seeming shorter as we become more robotic. That really makes sense. And it’s really sad. It’s time to go and get excited about more stuff. And go play in the dirt with the kids.

    Elexis’s last blog post..Chinese Food Takeaway Prank

  2. Bluegrass Mama says:

    I do think it’s important to keep some of that child-like quality, but I have to disagree with Ms. Monk. I think it’s a simple question of mathematics. At age 10, a year is 10% of your life and seems to go on forever. At age 50, it’s 2% of your life, and it feels like it goes by much more quickly.

    Bluegrass Mama’s last blog post..Change of Seasons

  3. Jacki says:

    I totally know how you feel! This weekend Emma was spreading stickers all over the house…sticking them on the floor, walls and curtains. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she was leaving a trail because she was looking for elephants. Usually I would have told her to pick up the stickers, but you know what? They are still there because I thought that was totally cute and imaginative.

    Jacki’s last blog post..My Constant Cheerleader

  4. Annie L. says:

    I wonder at what age we lose not just the desire, but the ABILITY, to play. It’s something we have to re-learn later, and often only if we’re given permission by others to do so.

  5. Amy says:

    Wow! I just love this post as it really speaks to me right now. I think it is hard to recapture that magic and the imagination we had when we were young, but it is so amazing to witness it in our own children. You really made me think- thank you!!

  6. Loralee says:

    Definitely true about the time going faster as we get older. It used to go so slowly as a kid, but now? Man, it flies.

    Loralee’s last blog post..This just in: Hell has frozen over

  7. Anne says:

    My Mom used to say that having children allows one to live vicariously through little eyes. I used to think I knew what she meant until I became a Mom too.

    Anne’s last blog post..80?s television

  8. Amy says:

    I’ve found it very sad that I have to force myself to “pretend” when once it came so easy. My youngest is very imaginative and it has been so fun to watch and so sad to watch other’s try to stifle it. I know the time is coming fast when he will dwindle in his imaginative play. 🙁

  9. Lisa says:

    Isn’t that so true? We have two store-bought pop-up kid tents…but when we took a blanket & made a “fort” in our livingroom, that was when the creative juices really started flowing. I just want to stop time & keep them this young & innocent forever….

    Lisa’s last blog post..Scrolling Saturday #3

  10. Blonde Mom says:

    I tend to be one of those “hurry up” mothers. But this weekend we had some good playtime outside (it was warmer on Saturday) and I sat down and put together a jigsaw puzzle with the girls on Sunday.

    I just love this age and how excited they get about everything. It’s so sweet and I know eventually it will start to fade.

  11. Holly Schwendiman says:

    So fun to come and catch up! My hubby starts working from home next week so I didn’t get much computer time last week trying to find the office upstairs. LOL Love the shares and the picture of your angel skating! Forts are still my kids favorite things to build and I just love watching them play, it’s really magical.

    Hugs,
    Holly

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  13. Jennifer says:

    I am always amazed when I watch the things my kids will say or create. My oldest likes to build airplanes and robots out of empty wrapping paper rolls and goes those endless amounts of tape. You rmentioend treaures and I have to tell you about this project that I’ve been meaning to try with my girls called Treasure Stones. You use things like used coffee ground and bake little trinkets inside. Your kids crack them open to reveal the prize. Great party favor idea. My 3 year old’s pre-k has treasure day every Thursday when it’s warm enough to go outside and they dig for colored gem stones. I’m goign to make them for her class a day. Here’s the link:

    http://jas.familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=11919

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Great Giveaways

  14. OHmommy says:

    Interesting. I often think of the same thing…. when does that happen? I hope not too soon. Cause, I, like you love to look at life through my children’s eyes. It is splendid. Can you imagine what life would be like without them? ???

    OHmommy’s last blog post..just laugh WITH me…

  15. Renee says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Very well put, Jamie. I feel the same way. So many time, I’ll be caught up in trying to keep things clean and picked up and then I notice my kids just having the most fun with the simplest things and it brings me back to a place where ‘neat and clean’ don’t matter. It’s just all about the experience. Thank God I have them to bring me there!

    Renee’s last blog post..Little Pieces of Time

  16. Dawn K says:

    You actually made me tear up. I had some of these same thoughts recently as I watched my son become facinated with the light switch next to his changing table. His eyes lit up everytime the light went on and off. It’s amazing how facinating the world is when you look at it through a baby’s eyes. Thanks for sharing.

    Dawn K’s last blog post..Oh, the fun continues?.

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