Let social media inspire you

I see this in my daughter, and it scares me to think it might one day disappear. She has an unbridled enthusiasm for life and for experiences, and as much as it drives me batty some days, it’s pure and it’s innocent and it’s amazing.

Ages ago she started asking me if I would do whatever with her — be it craft, play, do a puzzle, read to her, whatever. It was the addition of “with me” that I found hard to resist; it was specific to her, it meant she wanted me to do something with her, not just in general, and so I had to give in.

Now, it’s evolved to “want to do something fun with me”, or go someplace fun — it’s more open-ended, and it falls on me to come up with options for her to accept or reject. Just like everyone else in this household, but that’s another matter.

She creates constantly, though rarely actually on paper. She’s always talking, and it used to be she was sometimes retelling what she remembered of plots from television shows she’d seen. Then it became her telling very simple stories — mostly two or three characters telling each other to come visit and where they were standing (“I’m up here” / “there you are!”).

Now? Now it’s a never-ending narrative that includes characters and ideas and plans and visits. There are people and there are mystical characters, there are ideas and plans that could happen and others that can never be. But if you asked her what she thought about or was talking about or what her story was about, she probably wouldn’t be able to tell you — it’s not a story, it’s just what she’s experiencing.

I had a memory book when I was little where I would store keepsakes and write about who my teachers were, what my signature looked like, and what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without fail, I wanted to be a writer, and to some extent I achieved that (though I’m still working towards becoming the kind of writer I want and wanted to be). I can only hope that whatever she wants to be and what she becomes involves some element of creativity so she keeps this spark — really, this burning sphere — alive somehow.

(As an aside, she recently told me she wanted to be a mommy. I said that I was glad I made it look so glamorous, and asked if she wanted to look after babies. She said no and then said she wanted to be a grandma. Not yet four and she’s got things figured out.)