I’m beginning to wonder if my imagination exists anymore or if real life has sucked it all away. I think that I had a pretty good imagination when I was younger. It wasn’t difficult for me to lose myself for hours on end as I sat on my bed and let my mind wander.
Most of the time my imagination involved fake car wars as I zoomed my Matchbox cars and Legos along imaginary city roads. It didn’t take long for those images to evolve into some kind of space rocket vs. dragon war. If I got really into it, I could spend six or seven hours in my room playing with my Legos and cars.
I also used to play a game with a fake rifle. Nothing else, just a fake rifle. I would imagine that I had to fight my way into a castle using nothing but my gun and my fists. The adventure always involve Matrix-like abilities, even though the adventures came long before the Matrix was ever a movie.
As I got older, these imaginary adventures slowly disappeared. I still had the ability to phase out real-life, but I practiced playing basketball or went for a jog. I would picture myself as Karl Malone taking a turnaround jumper against Michael Jordon in the championship game, or I could picture myself running a marathon while leading the pack.
Now the only adventures I have involve a TV or a good book. Outside of that, my mind is filled with my daily responsibilities. I think that’s why I enjoy watching Addie and Vivi use their imaginations so much.
As I took a nap the other day on the couch, I woke up to hear Addie banging a whisk against the ground. I asked her to keep the noise down and she said, “Dad, I’m making a cake.” I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I woke up, Addie’s imagination had moved. She’d gone upstairs where her undivided attention was now focused on her dolls. Sitting next to the couch where I had been napping were six large mixing bowls, three large spoons, a cook book opened to a cake recipe, three whisks, and several measuring spoons.
While I was asleep, Addie’s imagination went from a simple whisk and a bowl to what had to have been some kind of cooking show. Later Vivi took over where Addie left off. All of the whisks, measuring spoons, and bowls were carefully lined up in a row. Bunny was placed in the chair in front of the bowls and then Vivi used each spoon and bowl as she pretended to feed Bunny.
I don’t personally get much benefit from my kids using their imaginations, but it means that they haven’t lost their innocence. It means the stresses of real life haven’t caught up to them yet and that makes me happy. Sometimes as I worry about various deadlines, arguments, and strategies that come with being a lawyer, being awake and conscious doesn’t seem all that enjoyable and I yearn for the days when I could sit back and use my imagination.
Just like my kids do now.
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