Montag, 26. Oktober 2015

childish weekend

Our oldest niece and nephew came to stay at ours this weekend. It was a new frontier. We'd been offering since the little ones were born, but it seems that the spring arrival of my siblings-in-law's fifth child has motivated them to foster their kids' relationships with their godparents, and we're pleased about it.
We'd planned for Ivo to take Luan to the zoo and for me to take Anouk to paint some pottery, but when I met them at the train station, Anouk voiced her interest in going to the zoo as well "aber nur wenn mir unsere eigene Besuch han und nüüt mit Ivo und Luan ume gönt." (but only if we go our own way and don't go around with Ivo and Luan.) Zoos make me sad, but not for the first time, I went for the love of a child. Luckily, the visit was full of questions and curiosity and climbing on things, so it was very enjoyable. And my lil' parrot (who wanted to know all the animals' names in English) scolded some children who were feeding the free peacocks, quoting what I'd told her when she asked if we could buy some popcorn to feed them.
The rest of the weekend was wonderfully enjoyable. Except when the poor kids came to wake us - as we'd told them they should - and I didn't realize that I was trying to speak to them in English, when I meant to speak to them in Swiss German and they looked at me anxiously, wondering what the hell I was saying.
On Sunday, we walked to a nearby playground and the kids wanted to play hide and seek. Having a basset makes this game a snap. And she was the designated seeker, with whichever adult was seeking. The kids got better and better at finding hiding spots (even the younger kid who joined us in our game) and Penny the basset got distracted by some smell or another and when it was my go, I looked around and didn't see them and was awash with a feeling I'd not had since childhood - the hopelessness that came with being the seeker.
I hated being alone as a kid. I tried to blame it on being a twin, but after my brother got used to sleeping in his own room - when I'd moved in with my sister - he seemed to like his solitude. (There was a long phase there when I'd wake up in the night and go to his room, to sleep and/or eventually play. Mom would come in and say "I can't take this anymore! You two waking up at the crocodile...!" - which I later realized was "crack of dawn") When my sister would babysit and want to send me to my room for being trouble, the thought of being alone up there made me hysterical. And being the seeker at play and not seeing anyone around, realizing that the others were such good hiders that I'd not see them without searching everywhere, I felt sure that I'd never find them. The future stretched out, without these people who were hiding, and I felt crushed by this crazily misguided feeling.
This Sunday, I was not the littlest hider and as a seeker, I was 6 months-30 years older than those people whom I was seeking. Of course I would find them. Of course we'd go on to complete our plan of visiting the photo-booth, eating leftover pizza for lunch and finding Wally on the rest of the pages in the book. But for a brief second, I remembered that childish feeling.
Hope is important at the moment and there is a danger of being struck by hopelessness, by letting the future stretch before me with misguided ideas. I'm glad to be reminded of perspective, presence and hope. 

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