Last evening, sitting around after dinner, I mentioned to my 5 year old daughter Nunu that we could do something fun for summer solstice, like, write a letter to the sun. She stopped what she was doing and looked up at me, her face full of curiosity and wonder and said, "write to the sun??" I said, "Yes, we can write to the sun about how we love its glow and warmth and think of all the things the sun makes possible that we are thankful for." "Okay," she said, "we can write to the sun."
A little while later she called to me, urging me to come outside, that she was ready. She had two broomsticks, one for me and one for her. She was wearing her cowgirl hat and her rubber boots. "C'mon, let's go." I put the broom between my legs, broom side behind me and she laughed, a shocked kind of laugh and shook her head, "No Mama, this way." As she directed the "horse's" "head" to be in front of me. Okay, I see what we are playing I thought. "Now what?" I said.
"Let's go!" She said. "Let's ride to the sun!"
"Oh, you thought I said "ride" to the sun?" I asked, hoping that my correction of her idea would mean that I could take the broomstick out from between my legs.
"Yeah!!" She exclaimed.
"I meant, write to the sun, like write words." I explained. "Shall we go inside and do that?"
"No, let's ride to the sun! Pleeeease."
I looked at the sun, I looked at my baby, I realized she had a romantic idea and I wanted to go there with her. But I stalled. I tried to negotiate with her as I negotiated with my inner child. I then chose to let the boring adult in me not worry about all of the neighbors in the apartment building probably watching us romp around the parking lot on brooms, and let my inner child live a little.
Of course Nunu wanted nothing but the best from me as we started to gallop around the parking lot. And so I galloped, and I galloped my best gallop.
One day, she won't be asking me to play horse. The magical years of living in and playing out her imagination will be gone. Even if she becomes an actor or artist, she may succumb to societies pressures of only letting her imagination soar at "acceptable" times. And so I reveled in the choice to feel the beauty and magic of childhood, right now, right here with her.