Monday, April 14, 2008

An island in my basement...

The boys are out back with the neighbors, playing an elaborate war game which involves more rules and possibilities than you can imagine. As an adult, we listen to their set-ups and rule manufacturing and think "Just stop being bossy and get ON WITH IT! Play the game, already!" when, in actuality? The set-up is 95% of the fun of playing pretend...

I remember, in great detail, playing with my younger sister. We had a "game" that we'd play which involved our family room rug being the island, that we'd spread seashells all over. We were on a deserted island, and had to live off of the pineapples and bananas that grew on our basement lamps and survive through tragedy after tragedy... It was quite extensive, and very time-consuming, to set up all of the situations of pretending!

I wondered, as I loaded yet another load of laundry and listened to them shrieking with glee, then anger, then glee again, when exactly was the last time I played pretend? I don't mean played with my children, doing pretend. Of course, I do that all the time. I mean, when was the last time I helped set up a situation to play with friends or my sisters, and actually believed in it? When was the last time I saw those bananas and pineapples? When did I actually last feel the pretend ocean waves washing ashore in my parents' family room? I wonder, had I known that the last time was going to be the Last Time, would I have played longer? Would I have been able to leave the basement and leave the Island?

When will be my children's last true time of pretend play? When will Justin stop truly believing in the missions and Star Wars battles with his brother and friends? Will Evan and Corinne grow up earlier, and abandon pretend play sooner than he does?

I wish I could close my eyes and really see the imaginary scenes I used to. Perhaps it's why I don't close the door to my mind on fairies and unseen forces? Maybe I'm just hoping for a bit of my childhood innocence...
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