The wind was howling like a banshee and slanted sheets of rain hit our tent, loosening it from its pegs, causing it to tilt crazily.
To make it worse, myself and my two little grandsons had camped on the edge of a mountain. We did this because we were risk takers and not really afraid of very much at all.
I painted these word pictures of excitement and adventure for the two little boys, crouched in the tent with me, making the story bigger and better as I let my imagination run wild.
The boys were captivated by my words, their eyes blue mirrors of anticipation.
“What happens now, grandma?” they asked, shifting their little blue jean clad legs to a more comfortable position.
“Let me think,” I answer. “I needed to make this as frightening as possible to keep their attention until it was time to get their pajamas on.
In reality, we were sitting inside a plastic Spiderman tent in the basement of their safe, lovely home. Their mom was upstairs.
In their basement, almost every square inch of the soft, beige rug that stretched out across the floor was covered with toys.
There were fire trucks and dump trucks. There was a miniature kitchen complete with cooking utensils. A train, set up in the middle of the floor was ready to chug its way through mountains and valleys and very hard rock.
But, interestingly, the boys didn’t want to play with real toys.
They wanted to be stuck in a tent on a mountain with grandma, while the rain beat against its walls in relentless sheets.
They wanted to imagine! They wanted to shiver and be afraid.
They wanted to be Superheros and camp on mountain tops and rescue people.
During the course of the evening, I began to think imagination has to be the best gift of all we can give these little tykes entrusted in our care.
But, parents and grandparents and all us adult type people who love these little people so much often forget about the gift of imagination.
We just go out and buy them stuff!
I’m definitely guilty of buying love. It seems my grandma heart just doesn’t have a budget and/or common sense.
It’s fun, it’s crazy and I love it. Buying them stuff. Stuff they definitely don’t need, and didn’t even know they wanted.
As a kid, which I vaguely remember being, I don’t remember much about toys. But, I do remember my front yard could just as easily be a ballpark or a football field, depending on the game my brother and I were playing.
My brother, of course, who was older and wiser, was a master at imagination and he taught me everything he knew.
Now looking back as an adult, I realize how very clever he was. To dream when you have nothing, to have a vision that you are in the big leagues, when really all you have is a broken hockey stick and a tin can, is very wise.
Sometimes when I think of those days I feel such a poignant longing to go back for just one moment in time to that field of dreams where my brother and I played hand in hand with childhood and innocence, it takes my breath away.
But, nobody gets to go back, so you have to go forward.
And, luckily it seems imagination holds true today just as much as it did, yesterday.
And, if you are very, very lucky you will be blessed with grandchildren who are willing to travel with you to places where imagination rules.
And toys are banned.
One day soon, I will take them to my field of dreams and put them on the roster for the big leagues.
I’m sure it’s still there!
ON THE OTHER SIDE