Day 22 of #Janblogaday: Kids.
Do you know what I mean when I say kids have a way about them that make you want to drop your world for a single moment in theirs? Our world is complicated… and expensive, beautiful but demanding, extraordinary but exhausting. Their world is lit by stories and ran by imagination… it’s endless and limitless and welcoming.
One of my most favourite things about kids is the simplicity in completely making their world. It’s easy to be a hero in a kid’s world. Pretend to be the cashier at their “store” or the “student” in their classroom. Play army, play house, play kitchen. You are a hero, if only for 10 minutes in a parallel universe.
My most hero-like attribute as of my recent visit home for the holidays was my aptitude for making sheet forts. Back of the couch, under the table, in the corner by the desk — there isn’t possibly a terrain I can’t build on. I first showed an interest in sheet fort making when my three-year-old nephew Ryder made me the baby in his game of “house.” Most know I’m not good at fake crying, and I’m quite possibly the most high maintenance “baby” you’d ever come across, so this game lasted for about three minutes. I was desperate to stay in Ryder’s world so I offered up my skills in sheet fort making for the cost of a really big hug (<– can’t feel like I got the better end of the bargain on this one).
“Okay!!!” Ryder’s eyes were like he’d seen a life-sized jolly rancher at the near mention of a fort all his own.
I don’t want to give away all my secrets but after rearranging some pillows on the couch and draping a sheet across, we had a small but cozy fort the two of us could fit under. We spent the next 15 minutes laying under that sheet, gazing up like there were stars or a world of war happening just outside. And I knew I was fort hero in that moment — absolutely making his world come together.
Then came Godzilla (aka. Jaxon), who just about trampled down our fortress in one stumbled attempt to come inside with us. Jaxon was thrilled to have his head under the sheets once he managed to fold his body inside (we hadn’t built it for three)… a bigger smile on his sweet face than his older brother’s. He had stumbled his way into a world that was bigger than his… more magical than any of his one-year-old peers could think up. And in that moment, Ryder was Jaxon’s hero.
It’s my life’s duty as an auntie to make their world as often as I can. Sometimes it requires ice cream or Toy Story or a pretend secret. But most often it calls for your time and imagination to enter into a world you used to know but left behind in Jr. High, traded in for boyfriends, Bratz dolls, and MTV. It’s a world where it’s easy for you to completely make someone else’s, to be #1 in the eyes of ‘the world’s’ only judges: kids.
On my last day home before flying back to New Zealand I was playing camping with Ryder. We went to “the store” and “bought groceries” for our big camping trip. We “fished” and “cooked dinner” over the camp fire. Then we went inside his Spiderman tent to tell each other stories and fall asleep “under the stars”. I told Ryder in the tent: “you know I have to go home now. I won’t see you for a long time.”
(Ryder) “Where are you going?”
(Me) “I’m getting on an airplane back to New Zealand. And I’ll miss you very much. I’ll think of you every day.”
In a kid’s world, these words don’t make much sense. In a few days from this moment in the tent he’ll see me on Facetime without a solid understanding that I’m 8,500 miles away. Ryder stared a little at his feet, then up at the “stars in the sky” in our peep hole at the top of the tent. I told him again that I had to leave soon. And he said to me: “No, you don’t. (Arms wrapped tightly around my neck) I’m going to lock you up and never let you go.”
And just like that… it’s just as easy for a kid to completely make my world, too.
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More from #Janblogaday: Day 1: New… year, new resolution. Day 2: Two… things you should never say to your partner. Day 3: Bucket list… of (some un)realistic wishes. Day 4: Pet peeve… fountains are not the new jungle gym. Day 5: Fear not, even if I am a little crazy. Day 6: Embarrassment: Lindsey – 1, Dad – 4. Day 7: The shoe horoscope. Day 8: A little honesty. Day 9: Made with love: Wintery Instagram jam. Day 10: Grandma took my room, so I took her pajamas. Day 11: A husband confession. Day 12: Haiti changed me. Day 13: Top ten ‘why not’ finds at Walmart. Day 14: Guess that food. Day 15: A hug-free, dent-free left-hand side of the road. Day 16: I’m getting my own tube. Day 17: This is your brain on bacon. Day 18: Dear newly-wed. Day 19: Superpowerful and hungry. Day 20: Beauty to me. Day 21: Happy. Tomorrow day 23: Dessert.
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