Do you remember what it was like to be a child?
I’m not talking about a postcard memory that flashes by your inner eye. Nor am I talking about the recognition of situational familiarity–you too played ball, ran barefoot on the grass, climbed a tree, sat sullenly in your room, set out on your first school day.
But do you remember in your heart what this was like?
Can you connect with the FEELING of childhood? The surprises. The delights. The terrors. The curiosity. The fascination. The awe. The overwhelm. The powerlessness. The omnipotence. The dissappointments. The warmth of being held.
Sometimes all of that and so much more has faded from disuse, become a distant memory, a slight breeze in a tussock of rigid sedges.
Betrayal happened. Adolescence in the absence of community happened. Professional mobility happened. Forced schooling happened. Uprootedness happened. Isolation happened.
Our hearts gradually became armored so the world wouldn’t touch us quite so much.
When you are with your child next, find a way to listen to that whisper, allow your child’s effortless vitality help your body to remember.
Maybe there’s a suggestion of movement deep in your unconscious, like the languid passage of a brown trout under the ice of a frozen creek. Maybe it shows as a faint trembling in your chest that rises as a tear. Maybe your body suddenly wants to move, jump, dance.
It’s all there if you know where to look, how to listen and when to let go.