“Shut up!” “No, you shut up!”
Last June, my sister and I travelled by ship up the coast of Norway, across the Arctic Circle, to the far northern border with Russia and – inadvertently – back to childhood. We were taking my Dad, who had long wanted to do this trip, and we two sisters were squished in a tiny cabin. It was the time of the Midnight Sun when
daylight never ended. Beautiful. But my Dad has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s and he quickly unravelled in the new and timeless sea days. Weirdly, the stress of being ‘parents’ most of the time took us right back to childhood for the rest: bickering one moment, hysterical laughter the next…
And it just confirmed to me that we never really leave childhood; our childish selves are always there, waiting to be woken up. Which is good news, because it means that all that playfulness and curiosity and wonder and delight are still there, too. And this we also found as we sailed through the most magical and mystical landscapes imaginable.
If we can only get back to that in ourselves, in our own lives, we can better understand our children and the true potential they have to play and to learn.