For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I have precious memories of my childhood when I would play with dolls with my younger sister and friends. There were times when I was playing with matchbox cars or having great adventures in the forests behind my home with my brothers and other children in the neighborhood. As I got older it seeemd I had to put away the childish things but childhood keeps calling.
If you will slow down and take time to enjoy life you will have a moment to release the inner child. I do not have children of my own although I hope and pray that it is in God's plan for me to be a mother some day. But until then I will be thankful that He has given me beautiful niece and nephews and friends with beautiful children as well. A day with any of them will take you into another world and you will forget about all the burdens that weigh you down.
Recently I have been spending a lot of time at my best friend's house. She has children who are my age and between her two daughters she has four grandchildren ranging from 9 months to 10 years. She has three grandsons and one granddaughter. Halie and Gavin are in the picture with me. Halie is five and my little Miss Lovebug. When I am around Halie it is as if the world has stopped turning and you are in a playroom and don't have any cares to beset you. Gavin will be three on St. Patrick's Day and he is my "Mister Blue eyes."
The other weekend Halie wanted to stay at her Nana's so that she could have a sleepover with "Aunt Gigi." This sleepover literally meant sleeping with me on the sleeper sofa. So, how do you have a sleepover with a child? Easy--you follow the child's cues and you play along with her and in the end you have both made precious memories.
I have been babysitting Halie and her older brother Hunter since she was born. I have played with them so much through the years that sometimes I don't think they realize I am an adult. I think they see me as a playmate.
I taught Hunter how to play Candyland and Chutes and Ladders so I thought it fitting to teach Halie. So, I took the games to her Nana's and we set out to play games that would enhance her counting skills and color recognition. At this time, Gavin (3) has joined us so I am diligently teaching him how to recognize colors in Candyland. Later we were in the playroom playing with dolls and in the kitchen. We were serving up pizza and cake, making funny egg sandwiches and spilling tea and coffee everywhere. We were watching The Wizard Of Oz and later we watched Space Buddies.
We leave the playroom and it's off to the foyer to build a fort. Nana gives us sheets for the roof and we take them from a sofa in the entry room to the dining room table. Then we use a large comforter so that we can have "carpet." We crawl into the fort; which by then can accommodate about four or five people comfortably and I begin reading The True Story Of the Three Little Pigs. Halie and Gavin love this story and want me to read it again and again. We pretend like there are ants in the house and we must get rid of them. We pretend like we are being invaded by aliens and we must protect our fort and then we pretend like the fort has turned into a castle and we are princesses waiting to be rescued by Prince Charming. Our adventures just take many twists and turns throughout the evening. The other adults leave us to our playtime because it gives them a chance to visit and they know that the children are having fun and so is "Aunt Gigi."
Later into the evening it is time to give the children their baths. When at Nana's they insist on taking baths there and if I am there they usually insist that I bathe them. Okay, let's go gather up the bathtime toys and get some bubbles going. Halie and Gavin have the time of their life and then the hugs and kisses and goodnights are said and everyone but Halie leaves. She knows she is having a sleepover with Nana and "Aunt Gigi."
We pull out the sleeper sofa and get our selection of movies together. Halie wants to watch Mamma Mia and then Celtic Thunder. Into the last 20 minutes of the final movie Halie falls asleep on my chest. She is snoring loudly and I think to myself: "This was the end of a beautiful day and she will know that another sweet memory was made."
Don't let being a grown-up rob you of having fun. If you have children get out there and play with them. Establish family game nights, interact with your little girl as she plays dress up, plays with Barbies and/or dolls, or in the kitchen. Engage in your son's activities as he plays with soldiers and trucks. Get outside and play ball with your children. Go bike riding with them or get the waterguns out and play until everyone is soaked. Pull the coloring books and crayons out and sit at the dining room table for a while. Put a favorite movie in and pop some popcorn and spend some time with your children. They aren't going to stay little forever!
This is dedicated to my niece and nephews (Jonathan, Marcus, Katherine and Elijah) who are still having fun. This is also dedicated to all the other children in my life who give me an opportunity to have fun and to laugh until my stomach hurts. And this is dedicated to all the parents out there who entrust their children to me.
At the end of the day you have that great sense of having made a difference in a child's life. There is no greater joy than to have a child jump into your arms and hug and kiss you and want to know if you want to play with them. Don't put it off until tomorrow because for many, tomorrow may never come.