Sep 4, 2011

The Kid Inside of You

When was the last time you played soccer in the rain or baked a cake and made face masks from the icing? When was the last time you skateboarded down a steep hill or cycled against traffic? When was the last time you had a slumber party -just you and your friends watching movies, eating everything in sight (with no fear of the grand total calorie count)?

Why do we stop being kids? Well because as we grow older our responsibilities multiply and we seem to have less and less time for ourselves and we forget just how much fun, fun is.

Then something happens and we get a taste of the innocence and simplicity of being young and just doing what you want to do and saying what you want to say. Do you want to feel younger? Hang out with a 4 yr old - a niece, nephew, son, daughter and just listen to what comes out of their mouth.

When my nephews were 2 and 4 respectively, the older one said to the younger one - "You're stupid, you have ca ca (ca ca, kaka, have no idea how to spell it) in your head."

I thought that was brilliant. It was sort of like saying "You're full of shit" just on a different level.

My younger nephew learned how to swear early on. My mother who is a professor and holds many degrees - curses like there ain't no tomorrow. She took care of my nephews often and is a great grandmother but she says the "F" word many times a day.

My dad is a former sports writer and broadcaster and he always talks about hockey and often finds a game on the TV no matter what the season.

My husband owned a big green truck when we met (don't ask?!)My nephew use to stare out the window from his baby swing at that truck like it was a superhero. He would ask me "Where's the green tuck?" (the r is missing on purpose).

Okay so the first quasi sentence out of his mouth went like this...

"Hockey, Tuck, Fuck You"

He often said this aloud at family functions, on public transport and to his daycare teachers.

The great thing about this (there were many not great things about it) was that he just said what he was thinking. When my sister-in-law asked my mother to please stop swearing in front of the boys, my mother composed herself and apologized (and as soon as my sister-in-law left - my mother said "Ahh she is over reacting, I don't Fucken swear that much").

When I was a kid, making plans with friends just meant I got on my bike (which was usually just thrown on the lawn in front and never stolen) and rode it over to whomever's house was the closest. If they weren't already outside (usually were)I'd ring the doorbell and ask them to come to the park with me. On the way we'd pick up a few more friends and then we'd spend the afternoon - all afternoon - hanging out in the park doing everything and yet nothing. We'd run from here to there - get on the swing set and push each other as hard and high as possible. Then we'd climb that thing that was for climbing (with the ropes and iron bars all mangled together and no sand underneath to catch our fall)and that would become boring so we would climb a tree and then end the day by sitting in a tunnel (the kind we use to crawl through) talking about stuff - I say stuff because I'm not sure we really spoke about anything. What served as our reality then would never repeat itself in our entire remaining lives.

Now if I want to make plans with a friend, I have to let them know at least 5 days advance and they have to make sure they can get a "pass" meaning their husband has agreed to watch the kids and maybe even feed them dinner (that's actually a double pass).

Plans are often cancelled because one of the kids is sick or my friend is sick or someone thinks they are going to be sick and frankly that all makes me quite sick. When we do manage to meet up, we are all exhausted and often frustrated by work or by our partners or our kids or our neighbours or our neighbours neighbour and after about an hour we just want to go home.

There's also that "couple's problem". Often my husband doesn't like 1/2 of the couple when it comes to my friends and when it comes to his it's the same for me. We always joke that if we could split them all apart and match them up with each others partners, it would be much better.

I'm immature. I'm a tomboy. I have a long board (skate) with incredible wheels and bearings and an amazing design (dogs playing pool). I have a bmx/urban bike that I do tricks on - it's a Hooligan - funny because that is what my mom use to call me when I was little. I wear Levis, a white t-shirt, Nike high tops or on special occasions Converse and my hair is short and spiked like that of a grade 9 boy. I can be very silly, have tons of energy and I refuse to grow up because really let's be honest, it sucks.

I have two dogs and anyone who relates to canines can tell you that they keep you young. They never grow up. They are kids from the day you get them until the day you lose them forever. They love to run like crazy and hump each other. They eat one an other's faces and chase their own tails. They bark and wag their tail when they are happy for everyone to see and when I arrive home a the end of the day, they are waiting for me and they just want to play. They chase balls and sometimes bring them back. They love to swim even though they rarely seem to be heading in any certain direction. They like to cuddle and put their heads on my lap and they love when I pretend to be Frankenstein and hunch my back and hold my hands in the air and chase them. They think that is really funny.

So getting to the point - it rained yesterday. A forest rests in the back of my house. It's a gift - an extra added bonus to our house. I had a thought and instead of thinking about all the reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea or why I was too tired or lazy to do it - I did it - I was a kid.

I changed into my sweatpants and a t-shirt and my "Billy" boots. I dug up the lime green frisbee and called my dogs to the back door. I didn't bother to put on my rain coat even though it was pouring rain. I wanted to feel it pelt against my body and make its way into my pours. I wanted to be soaked to the skin and covered in mud from the lake size puddles that had formed on the ground.

I ran out and my dogs excitedly followed - their feet at my the heels. I threw the Frisbee far off into the forest through the sky. The dogs disappeared into the trees, wind and rain. I jumped into the biggest puddle I could find and slipped and ended up on my back. I was fine but instead of getting up I just laid there taking in an old man smoking a pipe in the form of a cloud. I flashed back to playing mud soccer with my brothers and me and a bunch of kids from the block. We were dirty and wild and our energy was endless. Everything was funny, I mean really funny. We laughed like we were going to heel over and pee in our pants.

When was the last time I had laughed that hard? When was the last time I had completely unstructured time - no deadlines, no practicalities or responsibilities, no one waiting for me, no having to go to work to pay the bills, no being away from my dogs and house all day in the city, no having to be someone I was never really ready to be - an adult.

My dogs re-appeared, one with the Frisbee in his mouth and the other trying to eat his tail.

I felt a chill and I knew it was time to go inside, take a warm bath and change into dry clothes. I knew all of that because I am grown up and because my brothers are no longer there to say "Stay out a little longer" and my mother is no longer there with open arms, running the bath, preparing the dinner and putting out my PJ's.

It's just me, on my own, taking care of myself and understanding that we all grow up and we all grow old but we still need to jump in puddles when they least expect it and make that final homerun slide through mud and rain with our childhood friends, here and gone, cheering and laughing as if the day would never end.

We are the sky above and we are the ground below and sooner or later we dissapear into one and re-appear in the other.

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