never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
Remember ice skating and drinking hot chocolate and wearing Christmas pajamas cuddled up under the covers? Remember baking cookies covered in sprinkles and putting them beside the fireplace before peering up the chimney? Remember the magic of giant Christmas trees and twinkle lights and how it seemed just about anything could come to life—a wooden nutcracker or the electric train wound around the tree? There was a stretch of time when I’d outgrown Christmas pajamas, hadn’t seen the inside of a chimney and found my wooden nutcracker to simply be a nice centerpiece on my coffee table one month of the year. Then, I had children. And the magic came rushing back.
About a month ago I told Adeline, my daughter who reminds me so much of my young self, “I wish I could be seven again so I could be your best friend, and we could just play all day.”
She looked at me, tilted her head to one side the way she does when she’s doing some thoughtful thinking, and said, “You don’t have to be seven to do that.”
“Ah, but I can’t just play or the house would fall apart.”
“Maybe. Or it would be really fun!”
It was a simple exchange. And yet it got me thinking.
Parents get to live vicariously through their children—to experience the magic they once knew or the opportunities they wish they’d had. But lately, it seems Adeline has been challenging me to not live vicariously, but to really live. So, this Christmas, I took her on a holiday excursion that was a mix of both her dreams and mine. We flew to San Francisco to see the Nutcracker at the magnificent War Memorial Opera House and to enjoy a girl’s weekend surrounded by twinkle lights. I didn’t have to be seven to wear Christmas pajamas and cuddle under the covers in the giant hotel bed with Adeline. I didn’t have to be seven to hold her hand as we ice skated around Union Square or sang Christmas carols skipping through the streets. I didn’t have to be seven to giggle over hot chocolate under a giant tree or feel chilled to the bone as she and I watched a nutcracker come to life. I feel blessed to have had this time with Adeline, and neither of us will ever forget it.
If there’s one thing I’ve been reminded of recently, it’s that it’s never too late. We’re never too old. The magic will always be there. So instead of living vicariously. We just have to live! Even if it means the house might fall apart while we play.