When I was a child I grew up in a house dominated by mental illness. I guess it really started to emerge when I was about seven or eight. There was always lots of abuse, physical, emotional and sexual, but at that age, the door to the rest of the world closed. I went from a very active, probably hyperactive by today's standards, to a kid who never went out, and never had friends in, because 'they' might know. Because of that I safeguard our childrens' childhood ferociously.
Two weeks ago we took them to a park in town. It's a beautifully equipped park and they always enjoy it. Daddy and I were on the benches watching and reading, chatting together and with the children as they ebbed and flowed. It was a beautiful day. Behind the park, there is a HUGE hill. I smiled and mentioned to Daddy as I leaned into him that when I was a kid I might have liked to roll down that hill. He smiled and agreed.
The week went on, and the weekend approached. The boys said they wanted to go to the park again after grocery shopping. So we did. Daddy and I settled on the bench. When it was time to go, Daddy said, "I'll go gather the boys." I smiled and said okay, and went back to my book till the boys came for their bikes which had been abandoned for a game of tag. Daddy paused and said, "There are people rolling down the hill." I looked over and watched too.
Suddenly, Daddy's face lit up and he grabbed my hand, "Come roll down the hill with me!" My face blanched, "Daddy I'm scared!" (I have developed a fear of heights, and a fear of falling). He said, "I'll be right there with you. C'mon." I started to hyperventilate, "Nooooo, Daddy!" He squeezed my hand and said, "I'll go first and then I'll catch you. I won't let you fall." I trust him, I do, but the thought was terrifying.
He could have ordered me. I am his little girl. I am his slave. I would have done it because he owns me. But he didn't. He took my hand in both of his and said, "Reclaim your childhood. I need you to do this with me." My head had been swirling in panic, my breath fast and shallow. And with those words, it just stopped. I stood with not a little trepidation, and whispered, "I'm scared." He kissed my forehead and whispered, "I know. I won't let anything happen to you."
Somewhere inside those thoughts stopped swirling and suspended themselves around that simple statement, "I need you to do this with me." And I could see in his eyes that he did. And I knew in my heart and in my soul that I needed to do it with him, too. I needed to surrender that fear to him and trust.
So we climbed that hill, him supporting me and holding my hand. He sat me at the top and sat next to me, and said, "Wait here," and he rolled down the hill, laughing. He hopped up at the bottom and said, "C'mon, I've got you." I laid down and fidgeted with what to do with my arms and he said to put them over my head, and illustrated. And I did. And I rolled. And I started to panic, and my fingers gripped the grass as I rolled, and then I saw him, and I just let go, and rolled down into his waiting arms.
He grinned and pulled me to my feet. And I grinned back and said..... "Let's get the boys!" And then we were all.......
Thank you, Daddy, for helping me let go and for teaching me how to play. Little by little, every day, there is more and more freedom in belonging to you.
HER GUARDIAN: Helping her reclaim her childhood is important to me and yes, there is more than a little bit of youth left in me :).... Seeing her and the boys smile, it was truly a treasure that I will remember forever. Just letting her let go, and be loose, not care what others think, that's what it was and is all about!