Oh, Go On. Have Some Fun!

Fifth in a series. 

I’m letting our Picture a Conversation cards inspire this ongoing essay series. I built this snowman some winters back. Great fun for a Georgia-raised girl who never got the chance.

When was the last time you had fun? I mean soul-tickling, skin-tingling, laughter-bubbling  nowhere-but-in-the-moment kind of fun?  It happens less often as we grow older. A movie can be fun, a night out with the girls, or in with a beloved. But I’m talking the kind of fun that returns us to childhood. Where delight is the norm. Where every sensation is a swinging door into wonder. 

I know I can be intense. I feel things strongly. My reactions are mercurial more than some are comfortable with. It took me years to understand that being sensitive was not a character flaw, but my God-given gift and essence. I love my inner child. I’m glad she resisted all attempts to submerge her. I love giving her the opportunity to come out and play.  

She’s why I had such a blast building the snowman you see above.  I spent a good hour or so piling snow upon itself until I had a respectable form from which I began to carve my snowman.  The deep drifts had left me few visible gleanings to improvise facial features.  So off to find trimmings from lunch — clementine peelings for a hat, cucumber eyes anchored with a couple of twigs, a bottle cap nose and the banana peel mouth smiling at you above. I got out a spray bottle, mixed up some water and food coloring and poof! A spray-on scarf. Much healthier than a spray-on tan.

Our kids gave us plenty of opportunities to revisit childhood loves — blocks, zoos, games, books and more. But in those years, as you would imagine, fun always had [seemingly] more important stuff waiting in the wings  — laundry, carpools, dinner, homework, discipline, SATs. Years passed and then the fun quotient bloomed exponentially when our granddaughter Olivia was born. Silliness returned to the realm. Suddenly I could spend hours pretending with her.  Animals, princesses, shoppers at Trader Joe’s, pirates. I recited my favorite nursery rhymes and made up ridiculous rhymes as I had with Elliot and Emma.  Olivia and I disappeared into books for delicious stretches of time. When they moved out of state last October, it fell to me to begin replicating fun’s precious energy for myself.

I finally gathered up the courage to take a painting class — curriculum, supply list, assignments, the whole shebang. And what a shebang it is.  I love everything about it.  I love the way my palette knife moves through my paints when they are just the right consistency.  I love recreating the the exact tones I need when I have not mixed enough paint.  I love the sensuousness of my brush laying down paint on my canvas.  I even love cleaning my brushes, swirling them in a smidgen of soap cupped in my palm and then letting the water run through the bristles till the last daubs of color are gone. I love patting my brushes dry in anticipation of our next date. As with young children at play, I have no judgment, no criticism, no fear of “doing it wrong.” Unlike a child, I am vigilant about remaining in the fun place. I am learning what I need to learn through the sheer joy of doing. Our next trip to visit Olivia, I’m bringing paints!

In class we are concentrating on recognizing values. Ergo, all painting for now is in black and white. Inner Child needed to play with some color. I let her have her way.

Is it difficult to allow your inner child to have fun?  How can you open the swinging door into wonder? For some readers, it’s wintertime. Go build a snowman! What was the experience like?  Share a photo and a few words about it on the FB page. 

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