Being a parent is one of the best gifts you can ever receive. Whether by blood, through marriage or adoption, or even not officially - but as a guardian. There is, amongst other things, an incredible swell of unconditional love that you feel for your child. But there is also a jealousy.
I'll be honest; I am jealous of my daughter.
It's not just for her incredible young taught skin, or her life being all ahead of her. No. It's also about the little things. It's about all the things that I miss about being a kid.
1. Boundless energy.
It's from the simple things - like jumping for hours on a trampoline, or skipping everywhere, or riding a bike to the ends of the earth and back. Do you remember those days? Nothing was tiring other than boredom.
Let's not start with these days - aching muscles and avoiding cardio at the gym! I did go to a trampoline park a few weeks ago and jumped for a full hour (without child - don't ask) and I had trouble walking for 4 days after that.
2. Avoiding showers.
Ok so it's not about the hatred of cleanliness, because I LOVE showers AND baths, no it's more like you just don't care about what anyone thinks about you enough TO have a shower. Strange that I put this so high up on the list... There is a lot to be said for being too busy to care about showering.
Now showering too long is a tactic for being late for work!
3. Singing - constantly.
I do remember doing this alllll the time when I was a kid. Milla does it too. She sings non-stop all day. It's a part of her imaginary play, it's a part of filling the silence when she is not actually talking. But it is in completely unselfconscious fashion. I guess a form of self expression - before you become hyper-aware of your place in the universe.
It's like me at karaoke. I think I sound fantastic and I will gladly steal the mic of anyone for a bit of sing-sing. But there is a reason why I am not so self conscious at that stage.
4. Play all day.
My husband during school holidays would grab his bike and a sandwich and be off exploring the world until dark (at age 6 or so). I would disappear into trees making huts or climbing to the top to see the view. Other friends would just vanish from breakfast time until dinner called via hungry tummies. Milla takes a bag of barbies and cars and scraps of fabric and makes cities down on our lawn. Just getting so caught up and lost in your imagination with the worlds and scenarios that you could come up with that you'd be gone from reality for hours and hours on end. And swimming - until you turned into a prune all wrinkled and cold, blue and shaking but having so much fun.
Oh how I miss that!
5. Being amazing by, well, everything.
Especially Star Wars. The size of things, the scale, the inconceivable nature of stuff you just didn't understand! Magic tricks, computer graphics, double jointed people, big movie screens, snow (how the what the)... And the wonderment of 'what will I be when I grow up'?
I guess that is what I miss the most about being a kid: possibility. There was nothing to stand in my way of being whatever it was that I decided to do. No one said "you can't do that" - because all the posters on the walls in my primary school in Dunedin said "girls can do anything". Well - I guess it's now "kids can do anything".
I get very caught up in my daughters dreams and aspirations because I want her to think big, aim high - come up with a crazy collection of potentials. I feel the need to get caught up in her fantastical 'grown up' life.
But I also want to pull her back a little longer - just so she can get the most out of her childhood.