Voices / Debra Karplus |  I'm in awe of a child |  guest comment

Voices / Debra Karplus | I’m in awe of a child | guest comment

Fearing an unpleasant encounter with a hateful figure, and possibly risking personal safety, I avoid entering stop buildings when driving on the Interstate Highway. I see myself as a cautious person.

Recently, my daughter and daughter (granddaughter #5 of 6) came to visit here, traveling by car from Indianapolis International Airport to my home in Champaign. “Olivia” (not her real name) is 7 years old and the world is still exciting to her. She was fascinated by the concept of the rest stops they passed along the way. Although they didn’t actually go inland, they stopped along Interstate 74 heading west to Danville, but the idea of ​​the rest stop really piqued her interest.

They got to our house near dusk, so we only had enough time to walk a short neighborhood here in southwest Champaign. Olivia was fascinated by the Urusha. As a child, I loved fireflies. My brother and sister and I would go out to the backyard in Chicago and pick up fireflies, put them in a jar with clumps of grass, and make holes in the lid of the jar.

But sometime between then and now, I stopped paying attention to fireflies.

On one afternoon of their very short visit, we visited Prairie Farms, a gorgeous Champaign theme park just south of the Sholem Aquatic Center. I had fond memories of taking my son and daughter there when they were the age of my young grandchildren; We usually went to Prairie Farms when my parents were visiting here.

On this particular prairie farm visit with my daughter and Olivia, I was quick to notice things that weren’t there anymore, like the horses, cows, and ducks swimming in the pond and the slide out of the barn that my kids enjoyed so much in the ’80s. But Olivia was fascinated by the rabbits and turtles in the garden. She didn’t have the perspective I had about what was missing in the garden. Instead, she loved everything that was there for the kids to appreciate at that moment.

During the hot and humid weather of their visit, we were at the Indian Acres Swimming Club every day for a swim. Olivia was in the pool for 5 minutes before she went out long enough to show me her new friend. After that, they played in the water together for hours. I think of all the relationship struggles I hear of among adults and can’t help but marvel at the wonderful simplicity of childhood friendships.

Perhaps the highlight of Olivia’s visit was a short trip inside the bank. This branch of the bank was unusually quiet on a specific Wednesday morning; The only bank customer visible was a bearded older man who looked like Santa Claus. Olivia stared until the man walked up to her and insisted he was Santa Claus, and argued with her about being naughty versus being nice. Olivia is still talking about the fact that Santa Claus banks in the same place as Grandma Debbie K!

Wondering, amazed, amazed, amazed, admired are synonyms for awe that I found when searching on the Internet. After leaving my family to go home, I began to seriously think about the dread.

Sometime near the start of middle school, peer pressure and the need to integrate and be like everyone else take center stage; This wonderful feeling of dread fades quickly. What impresses young people dramatically changes his focus. It’s no longer “cool” to be fascinated by these simple things to your younger self. The word “cool” is often misused, and sometimes overused.

How can we adults regain this sense of wonder in the larger world we had as children?

Living more in the moment and being present is a big first step. Kids have this uncanny ability to be anywhere adults have a lot to learn from. Many of us older people find ourselves preoccupied with looking back, reminiscing about mistakes, ruminating on what cannot be changed, or leaping into the future backwards, and making plans rather than enjoying where we are right now. Kids seem to master this, until they turn into adults and have to balance fun and responsibilities.

Traveling or even changing a routine is a great antidote to experiencing dread again. My son is in his mid forties currently traveling abroad with some of his family members; I feel a little envious that they figured out a way to experience a renewed sense of awe. Always remember how wonderful life can be!

Debra El Carpels is an occupational therapist and freelance writer living in Champaign-Urbana. Learn more through debrakarplus.blogspot.com.

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