Ever meet one of those people who might seem to be going in the right direction? Kids seem well adjusted, family life is moving along, and they usually have success in their career. And when it comes to birthdays, holidays, celebrations, and even the simple skills needed in good conversations, they are outgoing and confident. Maybe they see glasses half full or refillable.
I want to believe that I pull off some of these most of the time. Lately I’ve noticed I’m struggling with some of these adjectives. I’ve become pragmatic. This concerns me at the opposite side of this scale is being an idealist, something I have identified strongly with over the years.
So then I start up my internal machines to work through “Why do I feel this way?” And in response a little voice inside me responds, “Is it safe to come out yet?” I can hear the child-like softness laced with fear and worry. “C’mon little guy, it’s okay. What are you afraid of?” And this is where every part of me starts to race with anxiety because as soon as the question escapes from my thoughts, I can feel my life and all the moments come flooding in.
I recognize this voice. When I looked at the world, I tried to see it through his eyes, eyes full of promise and curiosity. When I spoke, I asked the questions without regard for adult filters. I listened to the world through his ears, sounds of miracles and possibilities. I can remember early visions of butterflies and fireworks, crushes and kisses, scraped knees and conquered hills.
Then I remember where the voice went eventually. With each event in my life I was taught to face it. I built thicker walls each time. I knew steps to handle so many situations and so instead of wallowing too much in any one memory, I would move on. But that voice wanted to take a moment and simply grieve for the bad things and celebrate the good.
Before life happened, I was described as a happy child and these days I don’t feel that way. I feel like the song “Cat’s in the Cradle” is now so far down that road. My own children see small sparks of hope in me when I can tell fart jokes and laugh at their stories. It scares me. That little voice asks if it is okay to come out yet and I want to yell at it, “PLEASE I NEED YOU! YES COME OUT AND PLAY AGAIN!” But now I’m worried I will scare it with my bills, my job, my life…
Because now, when The Teen, The Warrior, and Little Miss are trying to be kids, I’m too busy trying to save the world, or fix something, or work on being better…when I might just need to simply BE.
That little voice says, “It’s okay. There is still time for us to play, but you can’t be scared of it anymore. Not the big grown-up stuff you’ve been dealing with…you can’t be scared of being a kid again. Of having fun. Of pirates and dragons, legos and playdo, princesses and spaceships.”