I brought them strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff
I have no doubt that if I was called to anything in this life, it was to motherhood. There isn’t a moment that I don’t count myself lucky to be blessed with my four kids. I cherish the memories we have created together.
Being a relatively young mom, and having a clear connection to my inner child, we created together, we played and learned together and we grew up together. If I allow myself, I can put myself back in the red glow of sitting cross-legged in their play tent on the front porch of our Victorian home. We would take turns making up and telling stories and the tent was filled with a very special magic. Even in those moments of story-telling there was the realization that this unique experience between the five of us was such a small snapshot of time that would soon be outgrown. But I loved that red glow on their faces, how their eyes were alive with imagination and how they giggled and went along with my silly ideas.
We ate egg salad sandwich picnics on a blanket spread on the living room floor. I introduced them to dirt bombs and when we couldn’t afford a kiddie pool or air conditioning I filled the bathtub with cool water transformed with food colouring. In winter I put Red River Cereal in boxes and found their sandbox toys. We painted and did crafts, we cooked and created. Once I even hung donuts with strings from the clothesline. Blindfolded, they laughed as they took bites. We played princess, Barbies and trucks, Ninja Turtles and hide and seek. We invented our own games and with my husband introduced them to camping. We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner on a picnic tables under a canopy of amber leaves at Awenda Provincial Park. We roasted spider dogs and snake bread. We joined Cubs and had adventures, explored and learned. We sang campfire songs, the silly songs of childhood, and nursery rhymes. We learned the ones sang by Fred Penner, Eric Nagler and Sharon, Lois and Bram and some mornings I woke them up for school by blaring Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf.
I often think those days, like the ones in Puff the Magic Dragon, were destined to cease. They were magical days limited only by our imagination. We were free to be ourselves. I think I knew we were frolicking in the autumn mist as eventually those activities became no longer cool and could not compete with the bonds of friendship as children grow into teens and adults. Like little Jackie Paper I no longer bring them strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. Still, I hold so dear and treasure in my heart and memories of the days we ran barefoot in the grass, had adventures and scheduled ‘unprofessional development days’ where we played hooky from school and work.
Those moments have enriched my life and allowed me to love beyond anything I could have imagined. My kids were my purpose. But even as I call them mine, I wonder, did they ever really belong to me? I aspired to raise children who were individuals and I can say I’ve achieved that. When I remember their childhoods I feel like those days of wonder were a gift and the child-version of them that I adored were on loan to me. Parenthood is not ownership. I no more take credit for their successes than I accept blame for their mistakes. It is my phenomenal pleasure to have lived alongside these children who have taught, loved, entertained, tolerated, frustrated, frightened, challenged and propelled me to become a better version of myself.
It’s fun to visit memories and spend a little time immersed in the magic and joy and it’s a privilege to witness the adults they have become. Peter Pan said, “To die would be an awfully big adventure.” But parenthood is a bigger adventure still. Every now and then, there’s a glimmer, a spark, a twinkle of the magic that connects us still.
I am Blessed to be their Mother.