Sunshine Sundays ~ Imagination

imagination

At the base of the property where I grew up was an old olive tree. Its branches reached upwards from its base, making a hollow centre. Inside the tree there was space enough for a small human. The floor of the hollow centre was covered with a thick carpet of small, hardened leaves. Light filtered in through the mesh of leaves and branches.

The tree was more than a tree. It was the home to a family of tiny bears – a mother, a father and two children – who lived in the tree trunk. A lizard marched on the branches above, and a fairy made her nest among the leaves. A miserly King lived in a cut-off boab tree not far from the olive tree, and refused to share his wealth with the family of bears.

I spent afternoons after school and weekends socialising with the bears, the fairy and the lizard. We chose not to associate with the King, who clearly did not understand the art of sharing and kindness.

My memories of this tree and its inhabitants are more vivid than most of my lived memories.

My imaginative life continued through school. Imagination found its way into stories or plays. It found an outlet in visual art at some point. Imagination was my reprieve from life. It was my entertainment. It made life more interesting. As soon as I had the chance, my mind wandered into an undiscovered world of stories, characters, images and pictures…Come to think of it, all this still applies.

As a mother, I draw on my imaginative resources lying in the dark, telling stories to my little sunshine girl. She gives me a theme, like “mermaids” or “rainbows” and I weave it into something especially for her imagination. She drinks in the story, asks for another, and reluctantly drifts off to sleep, where her mind wanders into stories of its own.

Her day too is filled with imagination. Like I had as a kid, she has regular characters. The key players in her imaginative stories are Maddy, her teenage daughter and Daisy and Tuna,  her two younger children to a different father (their father died, incidentally). Maddy, Tuna, Daisy and Sunshine Girl have a life that roughly mimics our real life. They do all the things we do, could do, or can’t quite do, or possibly things I did when I was a child. Maddy recently went to Austria to visit her father, but unfortunately, he didn’t have much time to see her as he was too busy on his computer.

Imagination, like learning, knowledge, intuition, social skills and communication is one of the fundamental building blocks of life. Children naturally gravitate towards it. From about the age of three, a child wants to and is inclined to imagine whenever they have the chance.

I am giving my first ever community talk in Wollongbar this Wednesday for the Wollongbar Progress Association. In preparation, I have spent the last few weeks researching, reading and pulling together ideas about imagination and creativity in early childhood, and the more I read and write about it, the more I realise how familiar it is, and how intrinsic it is to my own life and my life with my children. I find myself getting all passionate and excited as I pull the themes together, and shape them into something I can share with the community.

If you are living near Wollongbar NSW, and happen to free this Wednesday at 10am, you are welcome to join us for morning tea and a chat. I will be sharing my passion and interest in imagination, and ideas about how to nurture and engage our children’s imagination. This free community event will be held at Wollongbar Hall on Simpson Ave. Wollongbar NSW.

Tell me about your imaginative life and how you nurture imagination in the comments below, or link up your post about imagination for Sunshine Sunday. Everyone is welcome, and posts can be old or new. You can even share an unthemed post if you would just like to join in.

Next week’s Sunshine Sunday theme is “Love” (in lieu of Valentine’s Day, naturally).

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Sunshine Sundays

 

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Linking with With Some Grace 

My inner child at Christmas

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Christmas. Ah.

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Falalala La…and yet, I already have a knot in my stomach, which hurts.

Christmas, when I was young, was hanging over the front verandah, seeing Santa and his sled pulled by reindeer flying in the sky. I saw him. I did.

Christmas was waking up earlier than early, rousing my brothers to open their stockings with me. Pouring out bed-fulls of Crazy Clark gifts Dad had bought the previous afternoon. Door knobs. Underwear. You know, Dad Presents.

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Christmas was writing a note to Santa, begging him for proof of his existence. If he wasn’t real – the world as I knew it would unravel. Proof was the delivery of an elf. I set up a bed for the expected (hoped for) elf, and the next morning watched my world crumble down brick by brick when I saw not an elf, but a small, red, green and white teddy bear.

Christmas was crying – sobbing – as my dad told me that Santa was as real as you wanted him to be. And forgetting my lunch money on the front seat, my vision and mind was so obscured from crying.

Christmas was watching cousins unwrap stereos and walkmans and brothers unwrap cricket sets and dissolving after opening The Concise Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus, followed by a faded tangerine and black one-piece sun-suit. Christmas was running to the bedroom crying, and spending the rest of the day guilty for Having Ruined Christmas because of my greed.

Christmas was spending weeks making handmade cushions – cross-stitched rabbits, patchwork Cornish stars. Christmas felt like it was over when the last gift had been given.

Christmas was loud family discussions, fuelled by wine and pudding dramas. It still is.

Christmas was heightened expectation, joy, excitement. Disappointment. It still is.

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My inner child joins me at Christmas.

She was with me tonight, decorating the tree with Elka. We hung glass baubles filled with coloured feathers from a native potted tree. My inner child got goosebumps when Michael Crawford sang Oh Holy Night.

My inner child’s stomach knotted with disappointment when my mum told me Elka’s cubby was a family present – that was our present.

My inner child already feels sick with anticipation for all that Christmas brings. It’s only the 7th of December.

There’s no other day which brings out my inner child quite like Christmas.

Do you have an inner child? Does he/she creep out the night the Christmas tree is decorated?

Please join me at the Heart Mama Community on Facebook.

{linking with That Space In Between – talking about rituals at Christmas time}

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