RECIPE FOR THE INNER CHILD:
CLOUD ANIMALS, TEA PARTIES AND HULAS
Several years ago I wrote this article when my youngest daughter was on her way to pre-kindergarten. Now I have an eighteen year old ready to head off to college. With little time to write a new article and an opportunity to reminisce I found this post. With the impending onslaught of family and celebrations I thought it was a good time to remember the message in this post.
A funny, wonderful thing has been surreptitiously happening to me this summer. I have been rediscovering my inner child, with the help of a four year old and a two year old. When you have Ana and Andi in your life it becomes impossible to ignore your inner child. So with God by my side, this summer has become the summer of release for my inner child.
It started innocently enough one early summer evening, while trying to rest from a days hectic activities. I was craving some hard won privacy. With so many people living in my house including a 24 year old, 21 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old, besides my husband and I, privacy is a rare commodity. Before the birth of my four year old we had been on the verge of having an empty nest. I was almost finished with raising my first three children, graduated from college, and my husband and I were still young and enjoying the freedom that comes with having grown children.
|Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay|
So now I am laying her in the early evening sun, trying to relax and recover from a hectic day. Meeting the needs of my two year old granddaughter and four and 21 year old daughters has left me little time for anything including prayer. Finally I have a few minutes of peace, although I’m not completely alone. Nearby, two year old, Andi plays in her playhouse. Soon she wanders off to find her mother. I breathe a deep sigh, “At last, I am alone.” The television show in the family room ends and I hear footsteps heading toward the door. So much for my peace. Ana, my four year old daughter, comes bursting through the screen door and jumps into my chaise lounge. “Mommy, look there are clouds in the sky. I see animals.” Reluctantly I open one eye. I don’t see any animals.
“Mommy, look. There’s a tiger. No, it’s an elephant.”
My other eye opens. I still see only white puffy clouds. Ana pops up and heads off to play with something else and I close my eyes again.
Ana wanted to look at clouds. I had let the chance get away. I had become so self absorbed in recovering from the adult issues of the day and I had refused to let my inner child come out and play with Ana. During the last 20 years of my life I had fallen easily into the pattern of being an adult and bottling up my inner child, because I had no small children in my life. I did what comes naturally as your children grow up. I had grown up along with the kids. Even when Ana was a newborn I struggled with my inner child. I was still dealing with the issues of my older children and ensuring that my newborn was healthy and happy, the inner child stayed locked up.
Now that Ana is a little older and Andi is moving into the curious years, my inner child has stepped up the battle. So as Ana walked away on that summer evening, I opened both of my eyes and looked to the clouds and ended up finding an elephant or two in the clouds.
It’s 10:00 p.m. Ana should be in bed. She has a cold and got up early for school this morning. The uptight adult is talking here.
|Image by Janice Brown from Pixabay|
“Quiet, get back, down, down!” Ana wants to have a tea party. We have hot soup, spaghetti and chili. Then we put on an Easter hat and Hawaiian lei and do the hula. My inner child is happy and Ana is happy. Plenty of time tomorrow for the uptight adult. Tonight the inner child will play.
|Image by skeeze from Pixabay|
The whole summer went like this, when I least expected it and needed it most Ana or Andi, would gently awaken the inner child and ask her to come out and play. There would be tickle fights, cloud watching, tea parties and seeing everyday things through new eyes, where fluffy white clouds become dragons and castles, blankets become tents or ball gowns and mixing bowls become crowns.
|Image by Iris Hamelmann from Pixabay|
With the start of fall and pre-kindergarten, I feared losing the magic. Not so with Ana and Andi. The new season has only supplied more inspiration to feed the magic. Last week Ana and I went on a field trip to a local apple orchard. While there I learned a few things about apples I had never known. Of course Ana was in heaven as this was a whole new experience for her. Walking through the gift shop, market and green house, the world became a giant playground. The toys along with the other merchandise in the gift shop tickled her fancy. The different animals around the farmyard fed her vivid imagination, especially the very large pig. Questions like, did he walk and how did he walk on those little legs sprang from her hungry little mind. Choosing apples and vegetables from the market was an adventure and choosing the right colored mums from the greenhouse bordered on overload, there were so many to choose from. The word “WOW”, a most wondrous word, was heard coming from her mouth at least a hundred times. With every new sight it was uttered.
|Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay|
Another thing we have taken to doing about once a week since school started, is stopping in a local park on our way home from school and visiting the ducks. Ana loves to run around the island and see what the ducks are doing. Today when we stopped we got two bonuses. The first was a couple men fishing on the island. It was difficult to contain her excitement and to explain being quiet and patient so the gentlemen could fish. Once we got past them and found the ducks we got to be observers to the mating ritual of ducks. The squawking, diving and preening of the male ducks was fascinating to watch. To Ana the ducks were playing and she wanted to know what they were saying and doing. Little did she know that what she observed today will lead to the new baby ducks we will see next spring.
With autumn upon us and winter quickly approaching Ana, Andi and I will need to find new outlets for our imaginations, but I’m sure God will continue to provide them for us as Ana and Andi discover His big, wonderful world.
Ana and Andi have taught me and continue daily to remind me what a wonderful precious world God created. I now look at God’s world through a child’s eyes. Suddenly the newness and excitement has once again made an appearance in my perceptions.
Jesus tells us, “Let the little children come to me. Do not shut them off. The reign of God belongs to such as these. Trust me when I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter into it.” (Luke 18: 16-17, NAB)
It seems to me, all adults need to release their inner children. The world becomes a much more special place when seen with the eyes of a child. I am so thankful to have Ana and Andi in my life and I feel honored that God has chosen me to share their lives. So my inner child has escaped and I see the world through new eyes. Thank you God, and pumpkins, turkeys and snowballs here we come.
|Image by annca from Pixabay|