Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Sanctuary for Mothers

Sometimes the hardest thing about being a mother is learning to just 'be' in the moment. There are a million tasks that call for her attention, the most important being the children that she's been called by God to love and raise up unto him. It's rather overwhelming and I was overwhelmed ... at first. Then I discovered a secret to it. The times that my son loves the most, that I feel at peace with my role and my abilities is when I've become a child too. I can see things from his perspective (example: a messy moment is a moment of exploration and discovery), that growing up as a child is hard too (there's so much to do to be just like mom and dad, but my little body won't cooperate!) and that joy is found in the simple things like a flower on the wayside of our journeys of growth.

The first time we went to the Children's Museum, it was as if I'd found a time machine that brought me back to the wonders of childhood. The colors, the toys (some of which I hand to tinker with a while to figure out how they worked!) and most of all, the imagining and pretending. What a world we create when we are able to imagine! I had forgotten I had pretend to be faeries with my grade school friends. We created elaborate roles and went about rescuing and helping a world unaware of our existence. Joseph and I played 'camping' and kung fu movies where we'd solemnly face each other, bow and say the blessings words of a Buddhist monk.

Watching Isaac there, I realized that it's fun to go shopping, to see the colors, feel the textures and smell all kinds of foods. Driving is powerful, just the sheer ability of being able to go ... anywhere! Animals of all kinds, shapes, colors, sounds ... When I pause to see it from his point of view life becomes absolutely amazing and I find greater joy.

I loved going there with him, we went nearly every week. He learned things... I learned things and we did it together away from the chores and never ending tasks at home. I know for some moms, it was a chance to escape from the demands of a child, but for me, it was a chance to play again.

Tonight we went again, as a whole family, a rare opportunity.

Apparently from the months of Nov - Feb cultures around the world have huge celebrations - not just Christmas. The hall was lined with houses from around the world filled with play food for that culture, toys, instruments and ornaments. I finally know what Diwali, Kwanzaa, etc are about! If you look carefully behind Isaac and Kent, you see the rooftops of these houses.

They have a new section entitled 'Moneyville'. As a former math teacher, it's excellent, children learn the value of money, interest, how it's made and what was used in the past. There's even a machine to print money with your own pictures on it. We had tons of fun!

The Tot Spot is made for children just 2 and younger. Giant light switches, tons of balls of all shapes and sizes, a ramp with waves and steps to help with balance. You can pretty much play-test all the toys there to get an idea of what you child likes. Isaac's favorite is ALWAYS the car. He fills it up with gas over and over, drives along merrily wiggling his butt to some imagined song and loves honking the horn. There's power for you.

I can't help but miss this place and wish that I could take Isaac back for all the other things there, the make-believe newsroom complete with dress up clothes, the puzzle 'parlor', the mechanics area. I am grateful for the time here, more than anything because it reminded me of what it means to 'Be Young' and Alive.

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