Monster hunting, fast cars and jungle trekking

Wednesday evening I found myself chasing monsters, driving fast cars and trekking through a jungle.

With my trusted sidekick beside me, we hunted the monsters out and stunned them with a Buzz Lightyear gun. There were lots of them. They were on top of cars. On the dangerous road. Down drains. On top of buildings. They were everywhere… There’s one!.. Bzzzz… Stunned him with Buzz’s gun… There’s another one!…. Bzzzzz….

Then we drove cars. Really fast. Performed death-defying stunts. Jumped over other cars. Flipped onto our sides then back again. Wheel spun. Skidded. Dangerous stuff, but we were never in danger.

Then we lived in a jungle and spoke to elephants, lions, giraffes and hippos. We grazed on leaves from tall trees, We sat on rocks. We drank from the river…….

Wednesday, I spent the evening playing with my friend’s 3-year-old little boy.

Play is such an important part of a child’s development, but have us adults forgotten it’s importance? Has adulthood with all it’s pressures, responsibilities and worries stifled the pure enjoyment we used to get from just playing.

I’ll put my hand up right now, and admit that I still enjoy playing. I enjoyed stunning monsters, I enjoyed racing cars and I enjoyed living in the jungle.

I enjoy entering a land of endless creativity. Boundless imagination. Limitless fun. For a short while, its pure escapism. Maybe that’s why I enjoy it?

I’m a normal responsible adult. I do normal responsible adult things.

But….. I do like to daydream.

Maybe that’s why I’ll quite happily sit cross-legged on the floor and play with my niece & nephew, and my friend’s children….. Maybe that’s what has earned me the very honourable title of Godmother to four very beautiful Godchildren.

A lot of my friends now have children. I don’t, but I’m not one of these friends who feels duty bound to interact with their friend’s children. Neither am I one of these friends who has slowly distanced themselves from their friends with children and just surrounds themselves with similar circumstanced friends.

I’m one of these friends who understands that when you are spending time with your friend’s children, you are in the company of the most precious item on Earth to your friend. You are in the presence of something that your friend, the parent, has such natural, immeasurable and sometimes inexplicable love for. Love, stronger than any diamond and worth so much more too.

If you love your friends. You’ll love their children too. And I do.

I take an interest in the lives of my niece and nephew. I’ve never missed a school concert, or a birthday party, and I don’t ever intend to. I help with homework, I babysit, I play shop, I play house, I play board games, I read books, I do jig-saws. I colour in, I cut-out, I play football in the street, I play cricket in the summer, and I’m a legend on Cooking Mama on the Nintendo DS.

My niece and nephew have their own brilliant, wonderful, unique, quirky personalities, but sometimes I catch a glimpse of something familiar. A certain look, a little mannerism, a smile, a frown. It reminds me that something beating inside of them, beats inside of me too…

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aquatom1968
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 20:22:27

    Great post! I love to have fun. I love make believe. I love daydreaming. Everything is so much easier, so much better when I’m having fun. I don’t tend to interact with children very often, but when I do, they seem to bring out my child side. Leave me with a colouring book and a few pens and I’ll be there for hours!

    Reply

  2. Moira Pritchard
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 21:06:47

    Brilliant. As a grandmother I will endorse everything you say. There’s a difference between being childish & child like. Never lose that inner child. It’s what links you to your past & keeps you in the present. Children don’t tend to dwell on the past or look that far ahead – we can all learn from that!

    Reply

    • bethanage
      Feb 14, 2011 @ 23:55:46

      Cheers Mam… Very true! I’m now unable to lose my inner child, as it’s on my mobile phone in the form of me singing humpty dumpty aged 3!

      Reply

      • Moira Pritchard
        Feb 17, 2011 @ 22:18:04

        Ha ha! That’s the best version of Humpty dumpty anyone will ever hear! You should play it to all of your friends for them to realise that even at 3 you were ahead of your time & could belt out a punk version of Humpty!!!xxx

  3. bex
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 06:42:44

    loved this.

    (your post made me homesick – niece and honourary niece at home waiting for return home…)

    Reply

    • bethanage
      Feb 14, 2011 @ 23:12:32

      Thank you!
      I’ve been a bit slow responding to comments the last few days, but I’m sure your niece and honourary niece will have saved up their hugs for you for when you get home!…

      Reply

  4. Bec Walters
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 06:43:19

    Very insightful! A cracking write; as always.

    Really got me inside of my little Joseph’s head. Bethan, it’s so easy for me to just see Joseph playing with his Disney Cars, Fire Engine’s, Zoo Animals etc. You’ve reminded me that’s it’s much more than that; much more than just being fanatical about his toys.

    If anything it’s made me a little ashamed that I don’t think about his playtime the way you’ve written it. you’re post has also inadvertently helped Joseph; I’ll be far more patient whilst walking through his jungle of mess everyday from now on; and when he’s ‘shouting & screaming’ his role play.

    Bethan, I do hope you get scouted or something from your writings, you more than deserve it! Fascinatingly insightful and so proud of the decision we’ve taken to appoint/request you as Godmother to Eva. I hope you realise you are way more than a ‘friend’ to us. And to Joseph? Well, you’re probably a mixture of… a lost member of the modern Italian Job (he goes on and on about your Mini Cooper) and the good Witch from Wizard of Oz.
    Love you lots. Steve.x

    From Bec:
    Wow, Steve and I have just read this with tears in our eyes. Beautifully written and so very true! This is why our children love you so much, are so excited to see you and why you will be the best godmother our little girl could have. They sense that inner child in you. Last night I played dragons on the bed with my little man…laughed, acted silly and remembered that life is damn good after a really difficult day. Steve says that since becoming a Daddy he has laughed every single day at something they do or say……its a gift! Our little man loved his night with you on wednesday…..the first thing he did when he woke up was ask where ‘auntie bethan’ was and proudly show me the story books you had read him.

    Reply

    • bethanage
      Feb 14, 2011 @ 23:19:59

      Thanks both…
      I’m very honoured to be Eva’s Godmother, and Joseph’s play buddy!…. and also friend to you both.
      Having my little Goddaughter fall asleep in my arms one side of me, Joseph the other side asking to read him his book, watching the Wizard of Oz whilst eating cupcakes, is a Sunday afternoon well spent in my book!

      Reply

  5. Steve Walters
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 06:45:05

    PS. Note the time of our post! It’s because you’re clever God Daughter, @23weeks, just went 7-8 hours through the night, waking us at 6am for a bottle feed. And like her God Mother, wants more drink. ha ha (also, at 6 am).

    All the best.

    Reply

  6. Jean Round
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 12:14:47

    As Nanny to Joseph and Eva, I can heartily endorse all that Bethan has so eloquently written, as we were sharing baby-sitting duties on that evening. When Bethan is around, she has the magical quality of totally interacting with children, and no-one else gets a look in !
    Joseph has such an amazing imagination, and very much his own person, with the most incredible memory, I’m sure he remembers his birth!
    People will often comment that the joy in having grandchildren is the fact that they can be returned to their parents, they’re only on loan. For me, it goes far deeper than that, it’s a total generation bond, because if it wasn’t for their parents they wouldn’t exist, but if it wasn’t for you, as the grandparent, there wouldn’t be them, as so it goes back in time and previous generations. In life’s experiences, it is not until you have that same experience, can you fully understand it, the birth of your first child makes you realise just what your Mum went through for you, the love your parents gave to your children, and, when a parent dies, what real physical grief feels like.
    All this is slightly off track, I know, but this came from reading this blog, and awakening those feelings we too often bury deep in our conciousness, because to acknowledge some of them is too painful. Thank you Bethan.

    Reply

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