That Time I Let Them Be…
I’m really good at letting them create and imagine but it has to be within my parameters and my comfort zone. I begin to slowly unravel when it starts getting really dirty and loud.
Can you relate?
He walked in through the front door with a sparkle in his eye and mischievous smile. I immediately knew something was up. I asked him what he and his brothers were doing and he responded sheepishly–nothing much, just…a long pause… and the word building came out mumbled as he ran out the door.
But I knew better then to go back to my work, so I observed and listened. I watched him walk out the door with his tool box in hand. Then I went to the where we store all their tool boxes and realized all three of their tool boxes were all gone. My husband has made it a tradition to give them a tool box on their first birthday and then each year fill it with tools.
And then it clicked, the mumbled word he said as he ran out–made sense. The multiple times my little man walked into the bathroom and walked out with something in hand. The banging I was hearing, over the clicking of keys as I tried to finish up a deadline. They were building.
I’m not sure if my boys will look back to this moment when they are older or if they will even recall it.
But I, most certainly will remember this day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about creative play and imagination world but I have my mess limits, my chaos limits–that usually puts a cap on it.
I remember it fondly, because it was the day, I stopped my logical, thinking, tidy self, in my tracks and joined their world of laughter, imagination and dreams.
I let them be kids.
I didn’t let my pragmatic side, kick in. I didn’t let my I like things organized self take over. I didn’t let my don’t make a mess all over my house, ruin their fun. I didn’t let my “this is great but…” side of me, rain on their parade. I didn’t let my you’re going to get hurt, if you… motherly nurturing side of me take over.
I didn’t ask them to live in my pragmatic world, instead I stepped into theirs.
I let them be.
I nonchalantly walked behind my son who was dragging wood outside the door and peered over the shoulders of all the neighbor kids–working away.
I asked with much curiosity and interest, “What are you all building?”
Without stopping, all 8 kids in my yard responded–A ship.
My oldest studied my face. He’s an expert at studying faces, so I had to be careful about what I didn’t say. I smiled and nodded. I smiled again and said, “Awesome, can’t wait to see it.” I slowly backed away and walked into the house as I whispered a prayer–please don’t let them loose any fingers.
One of my boys, came after me and said, “I was reading this book (a book on ships) and I decided we needed to make one of our own.” I smirked and replied, “Cool, well have fun.”
Dang, that was hard to do.
But I was so proud of myself.
I let them be.
I let them get lost in their whirlwind of an adventure–becoming a pirate, sailing a ship across the seas, slaying sea monsters, going fishing…
I stopped clicking away and sat closer to their imagination station.
I stopped and just listened in. It was actually quite hilarious to hear all 8 little minds, dream, think things through and laugh endlessly. Their ages ranged from 2 years of age up to 11 years old so you can only imagine how their conversation went–quite entertaining, to say the least.
They worked hard for at least 2 hours. My boys came in at dusk with dirt streaked faces and covered in sweat. They showed me their blue print and said, “I don’t think we are going to finish our boat today, but we’ll get to it tomorrow.
They slept soundly that night.
And I closed my motherly eyes that night not with the weight of the world on my shoulders thinking through all that I didn’t accomplish, what I want to work on and what I still need to do but with a proud heart that my boys are still dreaming, imagining and playing make believe at their age.
I went to bed thankful that I just…well..
let them be…
I can be an over controlling mother sometimes. Maybe you can relate. This was a reminder to me to let them be kids, pirates, fishermen, superman, Lego builders, monster truck racers, vets, police men… even if it they’re going to make a mess. Even if their dreams are quite farfetched.
In those two hours of play they worked on their team building skills, leadership, following directions, creativity, engineering, gross and fine motor skills, critical thinking skills and so much more.
But most importantly they knew that I supported, encouraged and followed along. Instead of reading them a fairy tale, I let them create their own. I let them dream the impossible and know that they can shoot for the moon even if they land on the stars.
(Just in case you’re worried, please note that this is not the first time my kids have built something. My husband has sat down with all of them and has shown them how to use a hammer, a saw and other tools.)