Whimsy. It’s word that I have not used in my daily diction nearly enough. I’ve outgrown it, shrugged it off as childish, maybe even irresponsible. In fact when I looked the word up today, this is the definition that came up: “A Capricious or fanciful idea”. CAPRICIOUS? It sounded so negative. So I looked up capricious and the synonyms of that word are: fickle, freakish, crotchety. Wow. When did “adults” turn Whimsy into such a pessimistic notion? I mean, what kid shouldn’t be a little fanciful and freakish? And what’s wrong with impulsive, erratic behavior or doing things on a “Whim”? Of course, all children should be a bit careless at times, but maybe us adults could benefit from a little Whimsy in our own lives…
You might say I was feeling very Un-Whimsical last Thursday when Moonshine kept grabbing my hand to take me outdoors. It was cold, windy, and it would mean I would have to get both of us dressed in hats and boots and mittens. It just seemed a little absurd and impractical. “Seriously, Moon. It’s windy outside!”, I said trying to reason with her. But she wouldn’t take “No” for an answer and there was a tantrum brewing, so I gave in. But I didn’t even bundle her up, I just took her outside reluctantly and let her explore our terribly dirty back yard. I cringed as she dragged her little legs (and some of my favorite leggings) over the dirty flagstone, held my breath when she picked up rocks and put them in her mouth, and almost had a coronary when she started digging through a filthy pile of leaves in the corner of our yard. But I was honestly too exhausted to fight her and truth be told, I was bored stuck inside, myself. So I let go of the rules, let go of the thought of another load of laundry, let go of dirty fingernails and fear of spider bites and just let Ramona explore. I let her play and be a kid–erratic and irresponsible.
Then the reward… About 3 minutes into playing in the leaves, Moon discovered that the wind would take them from her hands and scatter them across the sky in a harmonious show of rattle and dance. She squealed, and giggled holding her hands up in the air and and quickly learned to wait for the wind, then release, and then celebrate. It was beautiful. Whimsical. Perfect. I learned another lesson of letting go on Thursday. I was reminded that these whimsical moments come so naturally to children as they study the world around them. Everything is magical. Our children can teach us as much as we teach them.
From now on, I’m going to let my daughter teach me to pursue whimsy and magic in my own day to day life. So that I might once again hold sacred the sight of leaves dancing in the wind, the sound of nature’s “chimes”, and the joy of getting dirty.