Child one. Check. Child two. Check. The supposedly responsible adult that is myself. Check. A paraphernalia of bags, bottles, lunch boxes and coats. Check. I can hear my inner voice being torn between wanting to take a moment to congratulate myself on the huge achievement of loading up the car, in time, with all necessary people and items (including some of which lean towards the more luxurious in the shape of half a packet of car mints and a Will Young CD), and wanting to strongly urge me to get my foot on the accelerator so that I can take on the challenge of what is widely known as ‘The School Run’. ‘Run’ being the operative word here; there is nothing ‘meandery’ or ‘leisurely stroll in the country’ about this point of the day.
So, within this hour, I shall morph into something of a delivery person, distributing my precious homemade packages to other establishments so that they can thrive and develop essential life skills without me. I’m not sure how I really feel about this…but that’s a whole other blog post! As I wave my eldest off, calling “I love you, darling” far too loudly towards the back of his head, I prepare myself for part two of the drop-offs.
At what point did my baby become a pre-schooler, my pre-schooler become a nearly Junior and myself become an adult? Such thoughts on the insistence and impatience of time are interrupted by my darling little one, who is now sat in the back seat of what is becoming rather reminiscent of a mobile skip, as opposed to the respectable automobile that I am sure is owned by the mummies who are good at staying on top of such things.
“Come on, Mummy,” she orders, “Let’s go catch a rainbow.”
Wow! Catch a rainbow? That would be a fantastic way to start the day. Random, but fantastic. It fills me with utter delight to hear such comments from my children, yet it also saddens me slightly to think that such thoughts do not freely pass through my mind in the way that they used to when I was young. My to-do list this morning definitely did not incorporate anything rainbow related.
I am sure that our inner child still lays active within each of us but we’re just not always aware of its presence. The responsibilities and all that goes with general adultness can somewhat suppress such fantastical and dreamlike notions. So…I ask myself: How can we access the awe and wonder which lies within our inner child? And the more I think about it, the more I realise that I actually manage to do this more frequently than I initially thought.
Although I could name a variety of activities, including spotting shapes in the clouds or rolling down grassy banks (not on my own I might add…that might draw attention that I would be more than happy to avoid) or shouting as loudly as I can along to songs on the radio when I am on my own in the house, the main outlet for my inner child, apart from being with my children, is all to do with children’s literature: writing children’s books, illustrating them and of course reading them.
Any book which encourages the imagination to run free is a winner in my eyes, but those which give us an excuse to tap into the ridiculous have to be amongst my favourites. My current book of choice for such an outlet is most definitely ‘Oi Frog!’ by Kes Gray and Jim Field.
When all the strains of the modern day have taken their toll, one can simply put all aside to focus on the all-important subject of which rhyming matter various creatures have to sit on! Hilarious, cleverly written and a tonic for the soul! ‘Cats sit on mats’, ‘apes sit on grapes’ and ‘lizards sit on wizards’. I somewhat regretted asking my children what mums sit on! I feel I did incredibly well to refrain from snapping back with ‘No we don’t! Mums don’t ever get to sit down as we’re far too busy doing stuff for you!’ Instead, I delved deep, found the small child buried deep within, pulled them up to the surface and giggled at the words my six-year-old finds funny. It felt good.
And as I sit (on my ‘what rhymes with mum’) in my car, ready to take my youngest to a place where she can continue to see the world through her oh so young eyes, I make a promise to myself to make time to allow my imagination to also wander today. Once I have negotiated the queue of cars ahead without accidentally bumping into them, tried my best to listen to just a snippet of what is happening in the world on the radio without being interrupted by a song, a command or an anecdote about fairies from the back seat, sneaked a mint into my mouth without being seen (a task which requires such fine motor skills, precision and timing that it is surely worthy of becoming an Olympic event), I shall be on my way.
Could today be the first of many where the essential, the stressful and the mundane are intentionally pushed aside for an important moment (or two) so that we can say hello to our inner child? So that our minds can feel free again? So that the positive effect of being lost in creative thoughts helps us to feel better about the not so creative tasks that need to be done? Let’s give it a go and, who knows, maybe we can all catch our very own rainbow.