This I Believe

Kenneth - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Entered on June 16, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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“Grandpa, Do you Want to Play”

Somewhere inside of me is a child. This I believe. He’s a remnant of what I once was. Innocent, creative, imaginative, without cares or worries, full of hope and dreams. Somewhere inside me this child waits to be set free.

When I was a child I believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. I could create artistic masterpieces with a box of crayons and a pad of paper. I could turn an oversized cardboard box into a spaceship or a castle. I could run through the sprinklers. I could chase butterflies and catch frogs. The whole world was mine.

As I grew older, I lost the innocence of the belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. The child began to shrink. I realized my artistic masterpieces were just scribbles on a piece of paper. That an oversized cardboard box was nothing more than an oversized piece of garbage. The child shrank some more. I could no longer run through the sprinklers, chase butterflies, or catch frogs as I was told to act my age, to be a man. The child continued to grow smaller.

As I became an adult, I found there were lots of things to care for and plenty more to worry about. That the world wasn’t mine. By then, the child was deep inside of me, hidden from view, because there is no room for a child in an adult world.

When I married, I didn’t have any children of my own. My wife had three boys who were grown. Soon they started families and began having children. As these children began to grow I was intrigued by the innocence of their stories of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and

the Tooth Fairy. The child inside of me began to grow. I watched them create masterpieces with a box of crayons. The child inside of me grew some more. I saved my oversized cardboard boxes so that these children could turn them into spaceships and castles and the child inside of me continued to grow.

Then one day, as I watched the children play in the yard, one of the children approached me. She looked at me and asked, “Granpa, do you want to play.”

“ Of course I do” I said and the child inside of me was free; free to run through the sprinklers; free to chase butterflies and catch frogs; free without a care or worry in the world; free to share the hopes and dreams of the other children.

The freedom wouldn’t last long, only about an hour. The child had to return back inside me so I could act my age and be a man. But the freedom felt good, really good. I had a chance to experience a part of childhood again, if only for a moment.

Somewhere inside of me is a child. This I believe. And sometimes it feels really good to set him free.