Muddy Fairy PLay: Dedicated to Ms. Papaya, 31 today!
Easter Sunday, 1985: Out into the woods we went to be in nature’s array of scents and scenes, picnic, hide-and-seek eggs with my sister’s family. My niece, Aliah (sometimes known as Ms. Papaya in my book), was 4. My daughter was 8. They were playing near a gurgling stream.
Between parenting young children and dealing with life’s demands, I had been so busy that I’d lost touch with the child in me. Daughter, Damien, and Ms. Papaya were busy building a stick bridge over the shallow stream. They’d christened themselves as fairies. When I approached, they said they wanted to keep on playing, obviously thinking I was there to parent. My response was “Can I play with you?” Their beaming smiles indicated they were quite delighted!
So there we were, three fairies in the woods, building a bridge when the shortest fairy fell off the bridge into the mud. Ms. Papaya cried as the mud dripped off her hands. Still wanting to be very fairy without switching into my normal parenting mode, I decided humor could be good for even the woodland fairies.
“Aliah, now don’t tell your folks” I said with a gleam in my eye as tears streamed from hers, “because this isn’t a normal thing for an aunt to do.” She waited as her interest in my ploy dissipated the tear machine….”I want you to wipe your muddy hands ALL over my blue jeans.” She looked at me like I was the most fun, insane fairy in the world. With glee, she vigorously wiped her muddy hands all over my jeans.
Oh! What fun to be muddy again! She giggled away the sadness as I followed up with a threat she viewed as deliciously daring…”NOW, my dear fairy, if I fall in the mud, I get to wipe MY muddy hands all over YOUR pants?” Her eyes widened with delightful fright as her tummy shook from laughter.We had become ageless children together. My 36 years slipped into 4. As she and Damien allowed me into their fantasy fare, I let go of my normal, responsible adult mode. It was a joyful event.
Happy Birthday, Ms. Papaya! We MUST get muddy again soon! 🙂
Recapturing Childhood Tips:
1. Observe children, their creativity, spontaneity, flexibilty. Discover where you have become rigid with ideas and actions.
2. Play with children. Do not attempt to direct them because they are younger. Become one of them. Let yourself go; express the child within yourself.
3. Look through the eyes of children. They see with simplicity, innocence, honesty.