#3: Play Like a Child (18:04)

Casting away our adult troubles for a moment to play like a child

Each episode takes the listener with me on sort of a guided tour through my mind of how I recognize when my balance is off kilter and ways I try regain it – from paying attention to synchronicities, to piecing together analogies from every day happenings and memories or just remembering how to play like a child. I share very personal stories as a mechanism to do a little inner healing and maybe inspire you to strengthen your inner balance too. 

This podcast is in no way professional advice. I am just an average gal, sorting out life, in my own unique way.

This episode revolves around the appreciation of young children and remembering to think in a more childlike manner, not taking our adult lives too seriously. I have a couple of cute stories to share from when my youngest was a barely entering school.

For as long as I can remember, I have written as a way to work through whatever is bothering me. Oftentimes, what emerges is a complete surprise – as if I am tapping into my subconscious through my keyboard.

I’m also an avid podcast listener. You could call me a podcast junkie.

Naturally, I got the idea to turn my writings into a podcast!

I subscribe to quite a few podcasts – from the weird to the inspirational or funny.

My favorites include several from Quick and Dirty Tips, including:

·      The Savvy Psychologist with Dr. Ellen Hendriksen

·      Grammar Girl with Mignon Fogarty

·      Money Girl with Laura Adams

·      Clever Cookster with Kara Rota

I also love anything put out by Hay House. I have followed Louise Hay for many years and adore the teachers and inspirers, and the movers and shakers, she has assembled to inspire personal growth and healing. I also have a couple of Hay House apps on my iPhone for those times I need a little nudge. Doreen Virtue’s Angel Cards provide a fun little way to touch inspiration. This morning’s card, in a nutshell, reminded me:

“Anything you are seeking is seeking you, also. Have faith and open your arms to receive.”

A few of the other podcasts I avidly listen to are Mysterious Universe, the Side Hustle, Dishing up Nutrition, and Essentials for Healthy Living.

One of my favorite podcasts lately is The Audacity to Podcast by Daniel J. Lewis. I’ve learned a great deal from him as I begin this new journey into podcasting

I find podcasts are a wonderful way to calm my mind, learn something new, get inspired, have a laugh, or just as a gentle reminder that I’m doing okay.

(As a side note, I am not affiliated with any of the above-mentioned sites or podcasts but I do hope to form affiliate relationships to monetize the podcast in the future!)

• • •

I am excitied you are here with me and I couldn’t be happier that you’re taking this journey with me as the podcast finds its own special balance.

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve allowed utter chaos to overshadow my energy. And I stopped writing. A big factor was losing my oldest son when he was 18. I have yet to write about that experience, ten years after the fact, even though there were some intensely special moments of love and healing involved in my personal grief process. I’ll do my best to talk about these experiences in  future episodes. For now, I’m not quite ready to go there.

My hectic workplace also has cast a dark shadow on my mental capacity, that I just haven’t been able to calm my mind enough to write. Until recently. It’s ironic how much energy you spend trying to protect your own energy!!

In any case, it was a big decision to share so much of my private self in this public forum.

Although it’s a great means for me to remember that I alone have the power to restore my balance, by sharing, I hope to inspire you as well!

In my quest to re-establish myself and rebuild a network to become gainfully self-employed again, I’m reminded of a much simpler time, when I was at my happiest in my little home office, earning my living without anyone to boss me around but myself. My youngest son (who is now 21), was about four years old at the time.

In My Home Office

I like to try to keep my home office somewhat organized. When I sit down to accomplish a task, it seems I sit on a toy, find little cut up pieces of paper on the desk, or indelible marker covering the keyboard. The tape is missing, the pens are dry or the contents of the file drawers are spilled onto the floor. If anyone has ever seen “Jeffie” from the Family Circus cartoon, his counterpart is sitting beside me.

People I have worked with in the past have commented on how quickly I can get through a full “in-box.” In a normal work setting, I do not have to get beyond certain distractions that I do in my home office. Tonight, I was frantically trying to finalize a tedious design job. Many pages with various cuts and precision measuring were involved. In the time I spent finishing it, this is what I encountered not an elbow’s length away.

“Is this how you make an ‘m’ Mom?”
“Hey, I found a quarter, now I am lucky.”
“Here, I’ll take you for a ride.” (Wheeled chair is removed from the desk and my fingers are forced from the keyboard.)
“Oooops, I’m sorry.”
(The sound of a simulated train whistle is blasted into my right ear.)
“Who is Linguine? Is she a bad lady?”
“Please hold my leg while I get this paper.”
“Look, I drew a face on my hand.”
“Vrooom.” (Various wheeled toys touch my hand, run up my arm and down my back.)
“Heyyyyy, it’s Fra-aaa-nklin.”
(Little knee bumps elbow causing hand to leave mouse and hit delete button.)
“Mom, you’re in my way—MOVE!”
(Loud crashing noise is heard by printer.) “Ooooops.”
“What does your name start with Mom?”
Ding, DING,  DINNGG (Sound adjuster on CPU has little fingers touching the volume button.)
“Oooops, it did it by itself.” (Large binder full of organized ad slicks is laying open on floor, ad slicks are no longer organized.)
(Large box of toys lands on foot.)
“Here, take my used tissue.”
“Hey, you sat on my hand.”
“I’ll do your work for you...can you see the mouse moving?”
“Smell this pen.”
“Do I have six pieces of paper?”
“I’ll call Indiana for you.”
“Mom, look at this, it might fly any minute.” (Ruler spins off screwdriver.)
“Will you please rock me to sleep?”
Oh, yes honey, I’ll rock you to sleep.

• • •

These days, the distractions from my youngest son are more like, “I locked myself out of the house.” “I drove my car into a ditch.” “Would you go to the post office on your lunch break? I ordered something and it came in.”

Whatever the distraction, I feel abundantly blessed to have every single encounter with my adult child. I savor each moment with him.  

What I would give to know the man my oldest son would have been and to see the relationship he and his younger brother would have today.

I guess this episode is a reminder of what I once had, and what I need to do to get back there again. My current 8 to 5 is serving no purpose other than a crutch for the steady paycheck.

As the days turn into years and they years into decades, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes. It’s by Hector Berlioz, a French Romantic composer from the mid-1800s.

Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.

Musical inspiration this week.

Symphonie fantastique Fantastical Symphony: An Episode in the Life of an Artist, Hector Berliotz

• • •

It tickles my soul to recount the experiences with my sons when they were young. Being around young children in general, is something I adore. They are open and innocent. One can learn a lot from looking at life through the eyes of a small child.

Many of the stories I share in these episodes revolve around the lessons I learned from my kids when they were very young.

Whether you are in the company of your own children, your nieces or nephews, or grandkids, their wonder of the world around them is nothing short of magical.

When I was much younger, I worked at a day care and thoroughly loved every moment of it.

If I can ever get my side hustle into a permanent means of income again, I am definitely going to work with kids!

One of my co-workers has an adorable five-year-old granddaughter who arrives with her grandpa in the evenings take Nana home. I’ve had the pleasure of watching her grow from a shy toddler, into an inquisitive and talkative preschooler. It’s the highlight of my day to see her sneaking around my desk. She’ll try to scare me, as if I hadn’t heard her come in, then I’ll jump up in surprise and she’ll squeal with laughter. I keep a box of crayons in my drawer for her and usually have something like a tangerine or banana to share with her. Some days, I’ll peer inside the box of crayons, filled with the familiar scent of childhood memories (when was the last time you smelled a box of crayons??), and look at this youngster’s favorite colors. I can tell which ones they are by they way they are worn down.  Even if it’s just five minutes at the end of they day, I love this little girl’s visits and am thankful her grandmother allows me to spend a little of my day with her. I’m not sure which of us enjoys it more. I hear her enter the building and ask her nana if she can go say hi to her friend. Then she’ll eagerly tell me about her day as we look for a story to listen to on youtube. A lot of the older Golden Books (from when I was a kid) are on there. She loves to hear them.

Some of my fondest early memories are of my mother reading these same books to us when my brothers and I were quite young. She always took the time to play games with us and read to us. Something I loved doing with my boys also.

Jordan, my youngest son, and I, like to invent silly games. The other night, it was trying to recall all the state capitals. He’s a jokester in his own right and one of his favorite pranks to pull on people is to ask them how they pronounce the capital of Kentucky. Louisville or Louis-ville. When they respond with Louisville, he tells them the capital of Kentucky is Frankfort.

I love his mind. Although I realize he’s not “fully baked” yet, I’m incredibly proud of the responsible and caring young man he is evolving into.

It reminds me of a little story I wrote when he was entering kindergarten.

To be Five

A wonderful thing happened a few short weeks ago. My youngest son started kindergarten. The wonderment is not in the sense of, “Yeah! The kids are back in school,” but in a whole new world that has opened for us.

Jordan spent most of his summer at a daycare center. I typically had him there by 9:00 a.m. and picked him up in the early evening—yet not on any rigid schedule. The day care center is among the best either of my boys ever attended. The staff is kind, caring and loving in an atmosphere suited for children of any age. Jordan thoroughly enjoyed the preschool environment for his age group which helped prepare him for what he is now discovering in his kindergarten class.

In kindergarten, 8:05 a.m. begins the day. We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the school, so most mornings we stroll through the dew-covered grass in the yard and take notice of the sky. The sidewalk is busy with people walking. Jordan pushes the magic button that signals when it is safe for us to cross the street. Sporting his new backpack, my five-year-old son takes my little finger in his hand and we walk to school. Painted lines on the asphalt become magnificent boats floating in the sea as we jump from one to the next.

As silly as it sounds for as close as we live, I allow Jordan to ride the school bus home in the afternoons. He has waited at least half of his young years for this very experience. Recent changes in my working schedule allow me the flexibility to be waiting as his bus pulls in front of our driveway—prompt enough to set a clock by. This is where “wonderful” sets in even further. During the five minutes spent on the front step awaiting the school bus, I pack all of my adult baggage and send it on an imaginary round trip flight, not to be seen again until darkness sets in for the night.

The routine we seem to have fallen into sounds rather common from the start—a snack of cookies and milk as the contents of the backpack are spilled onto the table and Jordan’s day is explored. As a working, single parent, it feels like a luxury to be able to do all this—before 4:00 in the afternoon. We now have five full hours of each weeknight to spend together doing what we want to do and making it fun.

We have discovered that the things we do not have, we do not really need—cable television, for instance. Even living in town, a cheap TV with rabbit ears will barely pick up the local public station. Instead of getting lost in the little 13-inch black box, we go to the playground where we take fabulous rides on ships and firetrucks; we fly like giant birds on swings and then walk home happy and exhausted as the sunlight begins to fade. Jordan tells me who he played with that day and the exciting things he experienced at school. We live in each moment as it occurs. Without all that baggage to contend with, I can listen—really listen—and I can play.

Of the many things we like to do at night, our favorite is to cuddle up on the couch surrounded by books. The other night, Jordan fell asleep far before his 8:30 bedtime. I picked up the stack of books we had read, including the three new ones we had purchased at the school’s book fair. There were eleven of them. As I placed the books back on the shelf, I smiled, feeling like the richest woman on earth.

The imaginary baggage returned from its flight, and I peered inside. The issues and concerns contained within seemed far less important than they had five hours earlier. They were handled with far more ease than they would have otherwise. With busy schedules and hectic days, if parents could learn to set their baggage aside for even just a few moments, instead of allowing it to consume us, we could all play with and listen to our children—and be reminded of what it is like to be five.

• • •

That about wraps up this episode. Thanks for listening to my silly stories and memories as I work to remember what’s it’s like to have better balance and I work through how to regain it.

I’ll leave you with this final thought:

Your love should not be measured by what you do or do not do—it should not be measured at all—by anyone else but YOU.

Until next time, love well my friends!

Email me at Lisa@VTBalance.com

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