Friday, March 15, 2013

Sliding Into Grown Up Fun

Ahhhh, the joys of childhood...  Today my children played on a slip 'n slide for the first time.  For those of you unfamiliar with this childhood torture device, it is a long sheet of plastic that you place on the grass and hook up to a hose to wet it down.  You then get a running start and throw your body down the line of plastic and glide through the water, grass chunks and eventually mud, all the while squealing in delight.
Now in an effort to be honest, I must admit I had a similar slip 'n slide when I was a kid.  Even though I am wildly allergic to grass, and wet grass is even worse, I spent hours launching my body down the slide in the hot summer sun.

As my husband and I watched our kids getting soaked and laughing as they splashed in the muddy grass, I realized some fun loses its luster as we age.  The idea of repeatedly throwing myself on the wet ground in the hopes that I will slide sounds more like torture than enjoyment.  Don't tell my kids, but I may have winced a few times as I watched them play.

Kids seem to find fun in the most interesting places.  An empty cardboard box is an exciting castle to defend from dragons, a shoe box is a treasure chest for pirate's gold, and a blanket can easily be mistaken for am awesome fort in the living room.  For a child, these are new adventures just waiting to happen.  For an adult, it can easily be seen as one more mess to clean up.

So here's the rub, kids have more fun that we do, but we need more fun than we're having.  How exactly do we go about enjoying cardboard box castles, blanket tents and plastic water slides?

Maybe we don't.   Maybe we find new things to enjoy.  Maybe we learn how to smile and giggle at the moments we have every day.  I have to admit when I accidentally showered myself with the faucet while doing dishes this morning, I grinned.  When I realized my hair was standing on end, I laughed, and when I saw how happy my kids were as they slid through the water, I giggled.

Boxes, blankets and slides are normal and readily accessible items for a child.  They find joy in what they have around them.  As adults, we need to do the same thing.  We need to find smiles, giggles and laughter in our daily activities.  We don't need to throw ourselves on the wet ground to be happy, but we do need to find the joy in our surroundings.

So go ahead, you can do it.  Find something to smile about today!

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