A letter to my inner child; the world is still just as magical as it once was. You have to look for it.
I can remember my obsession with Wonder Woman when I was a little girl. I would wear a towel as a cape pretending to be a superhero and jumping off the back of the couch yelling oh so proudly, “Wonder Woman!” This was out of character for my usual personality, a quiet, timid girl who loved to play with doll babies and barbies and, often, to the contrary, dig in the dirt and collect worms and rocks. Being Wonder Woman felt empowering and courageous, and it made me feel like I was capable of anything.
Summers of playing outside all day, watching my uncle and older cousins set off fireworks from my Aunt’s front steps, and enjoying the occasional push-up pop or strawberry shortcake ice cream bar were some of the best memories. This is where we find the magic of childhood.
I can remember the smells of Sunday pot roast after church, bologna sandwiches with mustard, candy necklaces, big-league bubble gum, skinning up my knees, and the scent of my mother’s perfume. Nearly every adult can say, if we sit down and think about it, we have a variety of vivid memories from our childhood that evoke a memory of magic and joy. Whether it was a holiday, their birthday, an encounter with a helpful stranger, or a time spent gazing at the stars. Magic is everywhere.
Having kids creates a tunnel into your past. Sometimes, there is trauma or unhappy memories for some adults. But just as often, some memories are good and nostalgic and treasured. On many occasions, as an adult, we can forget the simple joys we found as a child, and raising our own helps us remember them.
To my inner child, there is still magic in the world as it once was. The world’s heaviness can clutter our thoughts and blur the true depth of the good still in the world. But when we pause and look around, the good is overflowing.
People make mistakes, of course. We have differences, and sometimes people will disappoint you. Sometimes life shows you very extreme examples of both the dark sides of people, but more importantly, it shows you the unrelenting good in people. Always look for the good.
Children can teach us so many things about ourselves. We need to listen. Each of us has that inner child telling us how to have fun, let go, and find magic in simple things. Stopping to look at something that sparks your curiosity and asking questions, listening closely to the lyrics of music, and taking a minute more to linger in those cuddles and hugs.
My children get to see me try something new regularly, and most of the time, they roll in laughter while I do it. I believe they truly get joy from seeing me out of my comfort zones. I was a creative kid, a singer, and a good listener. I was not an adventurous, fearless kid, nor an athletic one, and the fear of trying some of those things as an adult takes me back to childhood. My kids have taught me that for me to parent them well, I need to lead with examples. What better way to be an example than to put my high-anxiety self through the wringer going down mountain roller coasters, hiking to beautiful cliffs, or riding a ski lift to conquer my fear of heights, right? I want to say wrong, but it is actually right. There is magic in those moments.
Letting your inner child out in front of your children speaks volumes to them. Grown-ups are serious. Life gets serious. Even if your kids look at you annoyingly when you speak in different voices or accents for fun, or they walk away from you when you start singing loudly in Target, do it anyway. Be free, and be you.