I kept hitting my head against a wall where reality demanded none shall pass... or at least not Ashley Havin. And on the other side of that great wall, kids laughed at elaborate dreams detailed in color and exploding into the real life stage of the classroom or our basement floor. The turtles saved April. The dragon burnt down the town. And I sat on the sidelines, totally stumped. I bumbled around my younger years feeling as if I would be found, an intruder foreign and all wrong, a child with no imagination like a person without a soul.
|I'm pretending to drive my sister around. That's gotta count for something.|
Two decades later, I am a mom and still waiting on that mental illness diagnosis. Like a pilgrim arriving in America only to discover the ship brought him out of the frying pan and into the fire, I weaseled my way out of childhood sans imagination only to find it one of the most needed skills in motherhood.
First it was the great expanse of time I was gifted as mother to one. Mothering one means stepping in as some stand-in sibling because, last time you checked, there were none to push into the ring. I marveled at the first peek into Thomas's imagination in action, his cup offered to a stuffed animal tilting up and up as the creature stared blankly drinking it in and Thomas peering at me to see what he had done. While the enchanting powers of my very son's brain on tap should've had me primed for all the "play" I had ever sadly missed during my own childhood, the last two years have offered an embarrassing number of encounters wherein Thomas asked to play with dinosaurs or in the fort or bring that bad guy to jail and I have all but begged him to read books with me instead. I'm working on it.
|B is for booger.|
I look outside and imagine a vision of my future herb garden to nudge that project higher on my to do list. I tackle challenges like bringing all three boys with me out in public (one in the Moby, one in a pumpkin seat, and one two steps away from being run over by his mom) so I can unlock achievements in my imaginary video game wherein I'm addicted to boosting my gamer score. I pretend that today, just like my husband receiving praise for all his hard work with that Visa card and note of thanks that's still on our banister, someone cheered me on when I striped sheets at 3 am, shaved soap into the homemade detergent, and changed three poopy diapers in a row before nursing for an hour straight.
To imagine is to make real the unreal, to create from scratch, to stretch ourselves into foreign territories. Shifting myself into mom of three and all the days to fill with housework and loving on littles and introducing one dinosaur to another with "Hey, how's your day?", I'm finding a little magic in the corners of my brain. It might be that just like my flabby front, my imagination is not a lost cause. It's just been sorely neglected and is starved for attention. Maybe I can make-up in my adulthood what I lacked as a child, reigning in pretend time, marrying business with pleasure and finding ways to both laugh at the days and brighten them up with new visions.
Well, I'm off now to put this cause into practice. And first up, I'll imagine I took a shower instead of writing this post.