We can’t give our children everything. It’s a hard pill to swallow since we as moms so desperately want to give our kids the very best of absolutely everything. But, everyone has their limitations. Even moms. In my own long list of limitations one has come to the forefront recently. As Maddie has continued to develop her personality and characteristics, it has become more and more clear that she has a very active and vivid imagination and that I have no idea what to do with it.
Imagination is a powerful and necessary thing. It allows us to see and enjoy things in a different way. It’s a tool that helps us enrich our lives and think through problems. Unfortunately, my imaginative prowess is lacking. Even more unfortunate is that I have passed this inability to Riley. We tend to appreciate the real things in life. We enjoy a good story but like to leave the fiction on the pages of the book. Riley engages in imaginative play but always sticks with realistic story lines.
So when Maddie first told me there was a T-Rex living down the street, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. I wrote it off as something she must have been reading about at school that day. When the T-Rex was still alive and well the next day, I was impressed with her ability to stick with it. Then, she declared that a blue monster was living in my room. A scary blue monster. As she told me about it I could see the enjoyment she was getting from its terrible ability to scare her. She was enjoying the story that she was bringing to life. Riley put her hands on her hips and said, “There’s no monster there, Maddie,” echoing my sentiments exactly.
As I explained Maddie’s recent development to Lesley at the Y that Saturday, her face began to light up. Soon she was having a hard time containing her excitement. This brand of imagination is exactly her wheelhouse. When I told her about my dismissal of the blue monster, I was instantly chastised. Apparently there is a correct response to a blue monster invading your room. Monster spray. And she just so happened to have a can at home, or so she told me. When we picked the girls up from the daycare area, she instantly began discussing monster spray with Maddie, and Maddie was instantly enthralled. They were speaking each other’s language. Riley and I were left behind in a world of realism and contentedly so.
Maddie has a creative need, and I fear I don’t know how to nurture it. It’s a good thing I know just the right person who can. Yes, we can’t give our children everything. But with luck, you can surround yourself with good friends to help fill in the gaps.