Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Stick, Some Thread and a Dead Bug

A Stick.
My 7 year old, always full of drama and creativity, brought a stick into the house. Bringing a stick indoors in nothing new, as I am used to finding rocks, leaves and sticks because there's always a collection being made for some unknown reason to me. After emptying countless rocks from both of my girls' pockets collected from their previous school's playground, I assessed that I really did owe the school a couple of bags of rocks...though I never did follow through with delivering any. Unlike the smaller sticks I am used to finding though, this new addition was about 4 foot long and I thought nothing about throwing it out the door back outside. Later, the stick mysteriously returned inside the house. I picked it up and as I began to repeat my actions from earlier in the day, I was stopped with the "Mom" whose tone draws into two syllables to let me know that what I'm doing is not appreciated. "I'm gonna make a fishing pole out of that" she says. Great, a fishing pole, that's exactly what I want to trip over, or have the dogs get a hold of in the house and chew into a mess of splintered pieces on the floor. I hand her the "fishing pole" and hope this little craft project is forgotten soon so I can throw away the stick once more.

Some Thread.
Later, my daughter is in the trunk which doubles as a coffee table and houses my sewing notions. It's not uncommon for her, or anyone in my house to be rifling through here as it's the one place you can usually find scissors when the household ones are missing from their supposed home. Which explains why I believe at this point I have no sewing scissors left either. I ask her what she is doing and she respond that she needs thread for her fishing pole. A piece is cut and I realize that the craft project is still underway and not forgotten. Later the stick emerges with tread tied to one end and my daughter curiously wondering what she will use for a hook.

A Dead Bug.
Well, I haven't seen or tripped over a stick in a few days and I had seemed to forget about the stick and the fishing pole until it re-emerged from it's hiding place to go on the river with us on Nana and Papa's boat this past Sunday. But now, along side the fishing pole which is propped up against the kitchen counter is a ziplock baggy with a large dead bug in it. What is this for? Well, bait, of course!

We head down to Nana and Papa's with our bathing suits and of course a fishing pole in my daughter's hand which in fear of Papa, she leaves outside of their house. We pack up for a day on the river and head out of the house to the boat, but the fishing pole has vanished from where she had propped it up. Well, unfortunately Papa did not realize it was a fishing pole, he thought it was only a stick, and had carried it down to the garage to later take to the brush pile. Once again, my daughter retrieves her fishing pole and heads to the boat with it and the baggy with a dead bug.

By now the thread is tangled, but it has a "hook" made with a toothpick broken into shape and taped on with clear scotch tape. I can't get the thread untangled, despite her most desperate plea. Nor can I figure out how we are gonna put the dead bug on a toothpick covered in scotch tape. I open the baggy to release the dead bug, whose time in the bag is unknown to me, but is obviously a long time due to the stench of it. Holding my breath I give up and tell her I have no idea how to get the bug on the hook. My only advice to her is to throw the bug in the water and let the fish come to it where she can use the fishing pole to hook the fish. Everyone agreed as no one wants to deal with the nasty smelling bug or the fictitious fishing pole any more.  She throws the bug in the water and stands at the side of the boat holding a stick with a piece of thread tied to it and a scotch taped toothpick dangling in the water.

She's not serious, right? She does know this won't work, right? Right, she knows...she's pretending. I sit there watching her and smile at the creative imagination of my child. She knows it won't work, but when reality fails her, imagination triumphs. I am suddenly ashamed. I tried to throw away my child's imagination, I wanted her to forget about her imagination and my dad tried to move her imagination...all without realizing we were doing it. And I wondered, if that was what happened to my own childhood imagination. The imagination that had an imaginary friend named "Yellow" who lived in the woodpile behind my house growing up. The imagination that spent summer days perfectly content sitting in the branches of a pear tree for countless hours. The imagination that would color the side of a box with blue waves, sit in my boat in the living room floor watching tv and staying out of the shark infested waters of the carpet beneath. What happened to that imagination? Did it get forgotten, hidden, moved, or thrown away like we tried to do my own daughter's fishing pole? Was it time, disappointments, growing up or the seriousness of adulthood that squashed the imagination? It's probably a culmination of all those things, and lets face it, we can't play pretend all the time. Talking to an imaginary friend now would probably get me some serious anti-psychotic medication and a padded room, climbing a tree would give me bruises and maybe a broken bone or two and sitting in a colored box in the living room won't pay the bills. But I am thankful that through my child's creativity, I can remember my own and maybe it will help me to not quash her creative imagination with every stick, rock or leaf I find laying around the house. It's funny how while we raise our children they can remind us who we once were and had forgotten. It's funny just how much you can learn from a stick, some thread and a dead bug.

1 comment:

  1. Oh this is so familiar! I've wondered the same thing about my creativity and imagination. When do they leave us exactly? The last time I laid a Barbie Doll down, did I know it would be the last time? Having Charley has allowed me to reclaim some of what I had lost.


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