Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 in Memoir | 3 comments

'Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things
take up the most room in your heart.'" said Pooh.
~ A.A. Milne

 

growth chart marked on doorMy children are taller than me.  The laundry room door looms as reminder.

I look up into their eyes and remember when they looked up into mine, and the shift in reality and perspective happened so quietly no one even noticed when up was down and down was up.

In a sense, I bless and curse this, their growing up. It's what we want, of course.  It's only
n a t u r a l, and truly, I don't want to go back.

Most of the time.

But then there are the least of the times, which uncomfortably feels like r i g h t n o w

Childhood is calling….

Mine?  Theirs?  I don't even know,  but it's tugging ~ hard ~ at heartstrings…

have you ever felt such a thing? 

….and this palpable, nonsensical longing makes me mad.

I want to build a fort.

(There.  I said it.)

Inside i dream of jeannie bottleThe type kindled from blankets and imagination, where an ordinary dining room table extraordinarily transforms to another place, another time.  Walls are pillowed, quarters are cramped-yet-cozy and tea parties never taste better. 

I'm a child of the 60s and 70s, and no matter what they actually looked like, we imagined our forts resembled the inside of Jeannie's bottle–colorful and comfy and impossible to penetrate by outsiders. 

Imagination is one of God's most gracious gifts to humankind, don't you think?  Why do we all too often let it grow smaller the older we get? 

I think I shall begin to pray about this very thing: 
to have more imagination. 

On the other hand, meal times beg for convention.  Cloths top that same dining room table, perfectly set with napkins and forks to the left, knives and spoons to the right, and chairs gather round, soon to be sagging by indulgence and satisfaction.  Good manners are certain to companion good food. 

And there's nothing wrong with this, in fact family dinners are delight; especially when travelers are seated at the table.  I'm grateful beyond measure for those who make effort to visit, who travel miles and wrangle wild ones for hours on end.  I know the price they've paid and it means something to me. 

I count it as love.

Perhaps it's the Thanksgiving feast that stirs this soul hunger, that birthed this particular yearning.  Maybe it was our rare occasion to host a holiday gathering, and the fact everyone else had to travel here, as contrasted to the more often our (the only out-of-town family) traveling there

Our table wasn't just set with utensils and linens and food to the overflow, it was a stage for laughter…stories…moments and memories. 

The same thing as a blanket-draped fort fueled by imagination. 

The rain hammers outside my window.  Relentless.  Melancholy.  Rhythmic.  I like her song–it's a perfect score for longing.  Not sad, mind you!  If you sense sadness you've missed it altogether!  This is fond remembrance, a childhood happy place; a sprinkle of "wistful" is the key to feeling it all the way down deep and remembering it like a child.

So why am I mad

Because I'm a grown up and grown ups don't build forts.  Not without their children, anyway.  And I feel silly for even thinking such a thing let alone wrestling with the idea…and yet, here I go and write about it?! 

Something about all of this I like, it's who I am.  I'm comfortable in this skin, even if it's slightly wrinkled and somewhat conflicted.  I hope when I'm older and grayer my eyes twinkle mischief.

The dryer signals the end of another cycle and I answer its call; the laundry room door mocks me coming and going.

But then the funnest thought of them all slips in unexpectedly, coaxing a grin Cheshire Cat wide–

One day I'll make an awesome grandmother.


Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery:  He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life. 
~ G.K. Chesterton

In my soul, I am still that small child who did not care about anything else but the beautiful colors of a rainbow. 
~ Papiha Ghosh