My oldest niece had such a creative costume for Halloween this year: she placed a stuffed chicken on her head (looked like a big, fluffy hat), and painted her face like a cracked egg, her take on being an egghead.
Seeing the pictures of her in her costume, I thought back to when I was around her age and came up with the idea of being a punk witch for Halloween. It was an awesome costume: a traditional witch’s outfit, down to the hat, with a metallic wig and my face painted something like Iggy Stardust. That I could create and execute an idea like that seemed, even then, pretty creative of me.
In fact, my creativity is something I always felt proud of; it was the thing that made me stand out from the rest of my classmates, the compliment that’s always been thrown my way: "You are SO creative!" There were so many pretend games and activities I engaged in throughout my childhood that, looking back, were the creation of my very vivid and unique imagination.
But the thing I’ve realized – as I smack my head against the wall every day, trying to think up fun, creative things to do with and teach my son – is that my creativity dumped me somewhere along the way. And all I want is for it to take me back and make me myself again.
Where did my creativity go? When did I lose it, and why? More importantly, how can I get it back? I see my son as he discovers the world around him, as he experiments with new concepts and ideas, as he comes up with the zaniest games and ideas – and I love it. I am so proud of him and cheering him on as he learns to interpret his world in his own way, as that little brain of his churns out such unique things. But what I really want is to be able to help him in some way. I don’t want to just react to his creativity, I want to foster it. I want to show him my own unique spin on life and let that influence him as it may.
And to feel as stuck as I feel – it sucks! I can’t come up with anything creative, anything unique or cooky or just different to show him. The things we do are so regular and boring – and therefore so foreign to me – that I’m going insane. Did I get so caught up with pregnancy and caring for a baby, and with trying to save a failing marriage, that I lost such an essential part of my myself? As I try to rebuild my life, I keep stumbling upon old parts of myself, and I am regularly shocked now at how many things I left behind, even though I would have wanted to always carry those things – like my creativity – with me. And I think then that for so long my life was consummed with the issues surrounding my marriage that maybe I shut a major part of myself off.
So I must turn it all on again. I want to. I want to be as creative and imaginative and quirky as I once was. And more importantly, I want my son to see that side of me and benefit from it. So my question to you is – how do you nurture your children’s creativity, and how do you rediscover and recharge your own?
Photo graciously provided by Clover_1, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved