Perhaps it’s the awakening of my youngest’s imagination. Perhaps it’s the precious half hour or so of being fully present with her, or both my daughters every morning. Maybe it’s because we’ve deliberately pared back from all scheduled activities, other than preschool. Maybe it’s that I have stepped back from technology and social media to spend more time in nature, or reading books and magazines. Whatever is going on, I am revelling – revelling – in my children’s childhood.
Childhood. So, so precious. It only happens once, and in a flash it is gone. And yet it’s the foundation for the rest of our life. There’s room for change, of course, but those first precious years of life are so important to who we become.
One of my high school teachers, who’s become a good friend, once said that she got through parenting by telling herself this: “They only have one childhood.”
That sentiment has been ringing in my ears lately.
So, what? Make it a good one? And what is a good one? The best it can be?
In my mind, a good childhood is not one crammed with activities and experiences, necessarily, but is a gentle glide. Maybe it’s an open paddock left to explore and ponder. Or a tree to climb. It could be a long beach, with pebbles and rocks and crevices to explore.
It’s people. Good people. Young and old. Different perspectives. Family. Friends. People who are kind. People who are fun.
It’s love. Lots and lots and lots of it.
It’s a Sunday afternoon, and my daughters and their friends explore and play. They are kicking balls. Wait – now they are running – pretending to be tigers. One is dressed in an opulent princess dress. The other has drawn stripes all over her face in highlighter. They are squealing and laughing. Negotiating. Chatting.
This is the gentle glide into the rest of life. There will be times when I get tense, and angry. My partner and I will fight. We’ll lose our patience with the kids. But it’s okay – because the bigger picture is this. This lovely little sunshine childhood.
Are you loving childhood too? What do you think makes a good childhood?