what every childhood needs

18 Dec what every childhood needs

A few weeks ago, B requested a “girl day.” She wanted a whole day for her and I to do “girl” things. When I asked her what she had in mind, she said, “First I want to go to In-N-Out Burger, then I want you to paint my nails, and then I want to go visit the secret hideout.”
Girly, indeed!
I wasn’t aware of any secret hideout, but she told me to drive to the local park and she’d show me.
“Follow me, Mama.”
The secret hideout is a spot she and her friends discovered near one of their favorite playgrounds. We spent an hour there, talking, adding new rocks and stacking branches to make it more “secret.”
Our friends visit it frequently too, and this past week they added something special. So we had to go check it out. The kids packed their own provisions — water, snacks, crayons, toys — and we set off.

Buried treasure! B and Miles were so excited they were shaking. They signed the log book, added a couple of treasures and we reburied it.

Seeing this made me wonder what ever happened to the time capsule my brother and I buried in our backyard in Atlanta. It wasn’t very well thought out…a cardboard tube stuffed with handwritten notes, a couple of school photos, and some Garbage Pail Kids cards, if I recall. Then there was our quest to dig to China. If I close my eyes, I can almost taste that memory, that feeling that it’s possible, that we really could dig to the other side of the earth…or at least to our friend’s house across the street.

After I took these photos, I left the kids alone, because things like secret hideouts and buried treasure are fragile concepts. I think adults sometimes bring too much reality, too much rational thinking, to the scene. The last thing I want to do is burst that bubble or choreograph their imagination.

From a safe distance away, I couldn’t see them, but could hear the tone of their conversation — intense, plotting, excited, rising in pitch. Exactly as I remember.

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