I love to sit just out of sight and watch my kids giggle and hide under the legs of our dining room table. They drag their dolls under and play like they are in a castle. Sometimes, it's a cave. Or a tunnel, as they weave in and out of the wooden chair legs. Or just a quiet place to read a book. Under the table, to them, is a sacred space.
When I was a child, ours was the Secret Garden. In my Grandmother's yard, we sat, cousins and siblings alike, in the middle of branches and leaves of several bushes that had grown together. It was just enough space between the bushes and the overgrowth to create a magical canopy of leaves above our tiny heads. It was our place-- Where we retreated after we found the sticks we wanted to use as magic wands; after we had grown tired of collecting toads from the bushes. The place we hung out until dusk broke loose with twinkles of lightning bugs.
The Secret Garden ended with a weed whacker. It was bound to happen. We mourned it's loss for a while, until we made an outdoor Mickey Mouse Clubhouse the new place to be. It had a roof that we could sit on top of and if we felt particularly misbehaved (and did we ever, all the time), we could strap the little yellow dog, Missy, to a harness and hoist her up. I'm not sure if she enjoyed those rope rides up to the top of the clubhouse, but I like to think it was our way of trying to include her in our fun.
The Clubhouse lasted for a while, until we decided that it would be fun to paint it with lemonade dipped paint brushes. The bees liked it plenty, but our Grandmother was none too pleased. The hose came out and we moved on.
The memories of those places make me crave my childhood. If I had a Tardis, it'd be 1990-something up in this mofo. I loved the innocence, the wonder. The way that the world seemed so huge. Everything is huge when you're itty bitty and you have yet to learn about the world.
Somewhere along the line, you look up and realize that you're just standing in a bush. That magic fades, the more familiar you become with the world. The closer you get to things and the more you understand, the less you like what they really are.
How can we go back? Does anyone else miss the magic as much as I do?
I cherish every day I sit and watch them under the table, hoping that they never stop imagining. Maybe, just maybe, you get to keep the wonder if you hold on tight enough.