I don’t know if you have children, but if you do, you could agree it’s a wild ride. Leaning into parenthood can start one of the fastest evolutions of oneself in a lifetime. We go through many cycles of ourselves to create the whole being- the Oneness of ourselves. But parenthood, as I see it, has a special little asterisk next to it. I remember thinking it was so cool to be a big kid as a child. Then when I became a teenager, I wanted to be a college kid (I attribute that to my afternoons watching MTV…if you know, you know). And when I was in college, being an adult in the world seemed like a dream. But I also remember the moments when a stack of pillows became a fortress and a cardboard box an impenetrable castle. I recall it now as I scoot my daughter around in empty Amazon boxes as if she’s touring the country by train in the heart of our backyard. The vividness of her imagination propels her through each day, something I both recall and desire as an adult.
Whether or not we are here to remember everything, our fast-paced life can make the gap vast and the journey back to Self long and arduous. The rubble of trauma, the wild wild web, and everything in between can be self-destructing yet overcomeable impasses that we must continually be mindful of as adults. I look at my daughter, and I know her world is real. No filter. No time stamp. Just a vibe stamp. She doesn’t care about keeping up with anyone; she cares about who can explore with her. I look back on days past when my screen name was “lovely wanderer,” and long for those days. Her example brings me to my knees, back to the mat, playing with no intention but to create. What a lost concept for us adults. If you feel you haven’t connected with your highest and best self, ask, “What would little [insert your name here] do?” Don’t be afraid to pick up that Play-Doh, those twigs, that dirt, and dive in. No judgment, no “doing it for the ‘Gram.” Let’s do it for ourselves. Let’s play.
Portia Ingram is the Director of Smart Start Suffolk for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, developing and coordinating early childhood programs. She owns Mind Align Solutions, LLC, a consulting company that creates and runs workshops on holistic planning and life skill development for children and adults. She has also worked and advocated for the disability community for over ten years in various positions ranging from clinician to policy advocate. She continues to share and provide resources to those in the community, working alongside politicians and non-profit organizations around Long Island. She is the author of the workbook The Helpful Planner and the young adult self-help book How To Survive Your 20s.