Ode to the Imaginations of Children

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While I will mostly use this blog and the forum it provides with the opportunity to discuss fiction, I do plan on a slightly altered course from time to time.  And sometimes, I will begin these derivations with really wordy beginning statements.

Matched (by Ally Condie) has had me thinking a lot about creating and not just consuming lately.  (I have not even finished the book, and already it has me thinking.  You can fully expect a glowing review in the next couple of days.)  It is perhaps the perfect week to read this book, because I am spending a week with my 2 year-old nephew.  O likes to move.  A lot.  He likes to play, run, yammer to himself, and just get into lots of trouble.  But the thing that really inspires me as I spend time with him is the depth of his imagination.

He is 2, so of course everything is a game to him.  I miss having that freedom in my life, to not have to live with one foot on the ground while the rest of me is in the clouds.  O gets to make his life what he wants because it all exists in his mind.  This week, I bought him a new stuffed dog when we were at Ikea.  He held onto it the entire time we were in the store, and then back in the car, he was making it bark at me, and you could practically see the wheels turning in his little head.  He also got a new set of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys.  We knew that he would like them, but we had no idea how much he would love them.  He takes them apart and puts them back together in all kinds of configurations.  He piles all the pieces into his current base (an Amazon box that held his trike), and plays with them and makes them talk to each other.  Miss and Miss (he hasn’t grasped the -ter part of the second potato head) have to watch him eat dinner, they have to be on his dresser when he sleeps, and tonight they needed forks at dinner.  He has turned these toys into his friends, even scolding Miss for taking his fork at dinner.

My mom often tells me and others how imaginative I was myself as a child.  I apparently could not be trusted to set the table quickly, because the forks and knives needed to have conversations before being set in their place.  I would often make my food talk to each other before I ate it.  And I remember the “stories” I wrote as a child before I could even really write.  That is perhaps one of my earliest memories.  Squiggles on a page I meant to be a novel, and showing it to my mom and then “reading” the story to her.  I have always loved to create, to write, to invent.  My nephew is no different from most toddlers, but there is something in watching this process that reminds me of my own childhood musings, of my own dreams to always be creating new worlds for my imaginary friends to live.

I wish that as an adult, we could have those same carefree days of play.  That we could sit and imagine a world into existence without a care to stop us.  I know that some people are that lucky, but we are always hindered by bills and responsibilities, families and friends who keep us grounded just enough that we cannot truly get lost in our own creations.

I may not be able to live it anymore, but I love to watch my nephew experience it.  How grateful I am that he can be so lucky.


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