Friday, February 24, 2012

Hide and seek


Sometimes I am too proud. My girls ask me to play hide and seek, and I demur. I'm too dignified to crawl under a bed; I'm too big to stuff my body into a cupboard; I'm too intelligent to pretend not to see them as they hide with one leg sticking out. Anyway, I have better things to do.

But they plead; and so I agree to play two or three quick rounds with haughty grace. I don't enter the game fully; I am pretending to play rather than actually playing. But as I pretend, something odd often happens. I wander into a room where I heard a floorboard squeak, and there is no child. I quickly check the usual places; still no child. My pulse quickens and my heart begins to race. 'Hello?' I ask tentatively into the quiet room. I check again, and perhaps then there is a muffled giggle. I look once more and finally see a small lump in a most unexpected place, hidden under a blanket. I tiptoe over, yank back the blanket, and a child bursts out; we shriek and laugh. Now it's my turn to hide.

Instead of going to one of my usual spots where I can stand quietly and check my text messages – in the pantry, behind the shower curtain, in the powder room – I race down the hall, sneak into the laundry, then set myself halfway up the stairs just out of sight; I creep onto an unmade bed and arrange the doonas over myself in a hot messy mound. With pounding heart I wait, stifling the urge to giggle nervously. When a child comes near, I hold my breath...


Still waiting...


then jump out yelling!

And suddenly I realise I am no longer pretending. Here I am, dignified old me, leaping and shouting and giggling like a five year old. I've shot from pretending to playing, just by going through the motions.

It makes me wonder what else I could master by going through the motions. By drafting small pieces day after day, could I learn to write? By acting like a faithful wife, could I plumb the depths of love? By pretending I have all the time in the world, could I acquire patience? By sitting in quietness and letting go of the voices, could I experience silence?

Could I soften my hard heart by pretending to be kind?


  1. Thank you. Wow....if we began looking at life from that perspective....who knows where we might end up? So often, it comes back down to stripping away all the baggage we have acquired over the years - and all of the analysing and intellectualising we have put this through - and just simply discerning what our 'inner child' thinks and feels. You have touched on a number of areas which in my life could do with some unguarded and transparent childlike review. Many thanks once again.

  2. :-)

    In highschool, my brother worked on the checkout of our local supermarket. As part of his job he was required to be cheerful and smile all the time. He found he almost always came off his shift feeling happy - he found the pretending generally turned into reality, too :-)

  3. Hi Accidentalwriter, This is a great time of year to engage in some gentle childlike review; you're in good company. Hope it's an interesting journey.

    Shelley, Thanks, as always.

    and Heather, That's great about your brother although I suspect that having to act cheerful all the time would drive me completely insane! I wonder how much you have to *want* to become a certain way in order for acting like it to have an effect?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...