The Saddest Disappearing Act on Earth
With children, our own world gets a little more complicated, okay, a lot more complicated...but with the right sunglasses on, and with the proper angle, all that complex confusion and chaos can be made terribly whimsical and mysterious again with just a little effort. Camp Zed was a fine example of finding the lowest common denominator between adulthood and childhood fancy. If you don't peek at the answers in the back of the book, and if you're smart enough to show all of your work so that you can see how you got to the answer you'll discover that you've got a lot more in common with your child than you don't. You were once exactly like them. No obligations...no responsibilities...no worries...no cares...It's one of the wonders of becoming a parent. You get to be reminded of all that's good, and in the words of James Earl Jones (Michigan '55), and that can be again. All you need to do is accept it and run wildly with it before you stumble headlong into what equates to an unmarked expiration date.
Zo spins me back to reality so frequently that it often seems as though it is she that is teaching the life lessons. I suppose very often it is. Ladybugs should be looked at with a curious and contented smile or not at all. Sand is supposed to get in your shoes. Why have a button on your coat if you can't play with it? Who says a shovel can't be a pretend hot dog cooker? Why is it that spelling your name has to involve putting all the letters in the right order, and why is it strange to want to wear wool gloves with your pajamas?
From this day forward I'm going to make it a point to not ask why as much...to say yes a little more...to surprise myself...to take every opportunity to giggle at things...to take advantage of every day's opportunities...to not let growing up get in the way of living. Soon enough Zoey will experience the slow leak of magic that deflates even the best of children. With luck she'll at least still believe in the magic as she grows, and find moments to tap into it. It all happens so fast, and I never hear one parent talk about giving their children the tools to hold tight to that magic. There's lots of talk about education, and discipline, manners and respect, but almost no talk of magic...of seeing hills that need sliding down and waves that need crashing, and fires that need sticks poked into them. Now that I think about it, it's alarming really. The best part of ourselves and our children we let slip away without so much as a fight. Not this family, not in this house. There will be mystery and magic and ridiculousness in this place for as long as live. Trust me on that.