Sitting at my desk, not doing much of anything but definitely thinking about everything that needs doing I had a flashback to my childhood, the years after moving to Miami when I was 7 years old but before junior high. For just a moment, an instant, I remembered what it was like to lay on the grass at the park and just stare up at the sky. Nowhere to be, nothing pressing, not a care in the world, I could lay on the ground, stare up at the amazing clouds on a summer day and just imagine. No burdens, no responsibilities, no need to rush anywhere, I could just be there, in that moment, appreciating the color of the sky and the shapes of the clouds as they drifted lazily by.
Then I became sad. I even got tears in my eyes because I was so very far from that moment, even the possibility of such a moment. And it was my own fault. Yes, when you are a child other than some homework and a few chores there really aren’t too many pressing responsibilities unless you were living with abuse, homelessness, or some other childhood trauma. But I didn’t have anything like that in my life. Yes, my parents hated one another. Yes, my dad was not around much. But even though those issues were present, were a part of my life, they weren’t a very big part of my life. I had the gift of an imagination. Even if my parents had a fight I could climb a tree and I was far away. If I missed my dad I could open a book and disappear for hours at a time. Even if I felt sad or disappointed I always found something to cheer myself up, most of the time.
But even before the challenges my family faced came to a head and became a divorce I was a carefree, happy, dreamy child who loved to lay in the grass and just stare up at the sky. I loved the cool feeling of the grass on my hands and legs. I loved the smell of the turf and the dirt it was growing in. I loved the warm, Florida sun on my skin.
I am sad that as an adult I have forgotten how to have such moments of carefree sensing and feeling and breathing and dreaming. I am ever sadder thinking about how my kids might be missing out on some of this because of all of the noise of life: tv, computers, cell phones, texting, activities, Facebook, and video games. When do they get to have nothing to do? It is a gift, this nothing happening part of childhood. This lack of events and planning and social connections. Such a gift that I fear this generation is completely missing. I know it is missing in my life.
This leaves me with a choice. I can continue to neglect my inner child or I can find time each week to just be, to feel, to listen, to smell, to experience a moment just because. I hope I remember this feeling of sadness next week and that I do something about it. I hope I find a few minutes to close my eyes and let the sun bathe me in its warmth, even if just for a moment. I hope.