Yesterday at the park, I noticed a child rolling down a hill. She laid herself flat on the grass, rolled all the way down then got up smiling and ran up to do it again. My first reaction to this was ‘oh gross!’ because I kept thinking about the dirt and bugs and possible animal poop on the grass. Then, suddenly I had a distant memory of doing the same thing dozens of times when I was a kid. I tried to dial back my germaphobic reaction and tried to see things through my inner child. Well, it took quite an effort. So does that mean that my inner child is fading away? Does that mean my innocence is lost?
I started to feel bad about that possibility of lost innocence and being a grown-up with no inner child to draw from. I mean I do believe that kids should be able to have fun and explore and be free sometimes. Yet when I see them with a dripping ice cream cone or playing in the dirt. I focus on the mess and want to stop them instead of letting them enjoy it. Maybe that is what happens when you become a parent and have to worry about the consequences of laundry or sickness or injuries. My mind jumps to those possible consequences rather than enjoying the moment like the child does.
So maybe I need to reconnect with my inner child again and let myself get messy and free with the kids sometimes. Maybe a risk of bugs and boo-boos is okay now and then just to connect with my kids on their level and see the world through their innocence. It might even be fun and make the laundry and bandages that follow seem not so bad!