Reclaiming Your Childlike Whimsy

by Stacia L. Brown

Are there any little girls in your life? I’m talkin’ sandbox/swing set/jungle gym-aged girls? If there are, you’re probably already aware of this little anti-aging tidbit: kids keep you young. From their imaginative play to their fantastical outlook on the world, they have so much to remind us about what it means to be carefree.

My almost two-year-old recently started playing with her first box of crayons. When I bought them, almost a year ago, I was like any other harried, overextended woman, impatiently standing in the Babies R Us checkout line. The 24-count box of Crayolas only caught my eye because it was on sale for 25 cent.

But now that she’s begun to discover them, her crayons have come to represent so much more than a momentary savings. They’re a time machine, a looking glass.

Watching her purse her lips and furrow her brow in concentration as she discovers that these curious little sticks leave color behind—no matter the surface, to her mischievous delight—reminds me of how much I loved to color when I was young. My mother and I would buy Barbie coloring books and take turns decking out the black and white sketches with bold fashion statements and various shades of brown skin. My mom even taught me how to add “makeup” to the drawings after I’d colored in the faces: a splash of indigo over the eye, carnation pink on the blush of each cheek, two slits of scarlet across the lips.

Not only is this a ritual I intend to pass down to my daughter, it’s something she’s inspired me to resume. I recently went out and hunted down an old-school Barbie coloring book and bought myself a 64-pack of crayons. After a long commute or a particularly stressful day, I flip to a new page and lose myself in the rhythmic motion of filling blank space with vibrancy and life.

It’s an exercise that would benefit us all, really, finding and reclaiming that thing that brought us unabashed joy when we were little. What was yours? Double dutch? Running through open fields? Coloring?
If, at first, you feel silly, carving out a few minutes a day or a week to engage in carefree hobby you used to enjoy as a child, bring along a niece, nephew, cousin, a son or a daughter. They’d love to see you really let go. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget that it’s finals week, that you’ve got errands, that your bills need a little juggling, when you’re hearkening back to a time before any of that mattered.

  • Sankofa

    I sure hope so. I have siblings significantly younger than me and I do not plan on having kids ANY time soon (until well past 30). I like being around my own family members kids thought not other children because if any of them sass me I can keep them in check and they are more predictable. I love how children see things though it’s so uncorrupted and very straightforward. I love being whimsical and letting loose to when around kids.

  • Fa

    Loved this

  • The Comment

    I bought my son one of those cheap $2 dollar water color coloring books and why did I have to hide it from him? I found solace in water colors. A peace I havn’t had in years. He looks at me like,,,,”mommie those are mine.”

  • Stacia L. Brown

    I laughed out loud at “Mommy, those are mine.” That’s the exact kind of side-eye my toddler gives me when I’m coloring. lol

  • So Over This Ish

    This is a lovely post…very refreshing!

  • Dreaming

    Yes, this was a nice post. Too bad my younger half-brother is growing up without his sisters…

  • Mimi

    My brother and I are always high-jacking his kids’ toys and fun accessories.

  • Candy 1

    I hula hoop with the same one I’ve had since I was a 11, in the mid-90′s. I have parades through our house with my kids, and I still color with them with sidewalk chalk. I love making sidewalk murals!

  • Hushpuppies

    Yes! I try to do this all the time. Last weekend I went to a rollerskating. Next weekend: kite flying!

  • MsQuita

    I love coloring with my children! And when we go to the park, I have to get on the swings…. good times with my little ones. :)

  • CaSweetface

    So cute and very true! I’ve got to a borrow a kid now!

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