I'm plugged in and loving it
Electricity is the lifeblood of today's world. With technology playing such a prominent role in everyone's life, there is a charger for almost everything - phones, cameras, toothbrushes, laptops and GPS - just to name a few. Multiply that by the number of people in your home and you have a tangle of wires and plugs that need labeling, and nesting places where they can be found and plugged in as needed. Reflecting on this transfer and use of energy recently, I came to an insight that only emerges with age, I think. Having just returned from a gathering of our children and grandchildren to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, I recognized a source of energy I've never acknowledged before. It came about when our little ones, ages 4, 2 and 2 got tired of all the grown-up conversation at the restaurant table and needed a place to expend their own energy. Gathering the three of them together, I asked them to all hold hands, and we began to explore the hotel lobby.To my amazement, we discovered a huge carpeted empty room in which they could play. And so we began a game of singing the ABCs and clapping hands. Then I suggested they dance while I sang. Then they sang and I danced. Play progressed to include every song they all knew from school as we gathered hands and danced in a circle. Finally, in a burst of creativity, the three of them decided to lie on their backs on the carpet while I sang and they clapped on their bellies to the music. Our playtime lasted about 15 minutes, and then I gathered them together as we held hands and returned to the grown-up table. But the energy I felt from the love, cooperation, creativity and joy they displayed has remained with me somehow. Childhood can be so wonderfully uninhibited. In my adult world filled with obligations, deadlines and to-do lists that often overwhelm me despite being in retirement, I've banked that energy and it has become my charger. When I'm tired or feeling down, I plug into the memory of those moments with our three little girls and I feel rejuvenated. I think the golden characteristic of early childhood is honesty. Little ones, when they're tired of grown-up conversation, squirm. When they need to play, they wiggle and whine. When they're bored they speak up or act up. And when they play, they laugh, smile, run, jump, dance, sing and explore ad infinitum. Curiosity and creativity join hands, and they have fun. What I never realized before is that their energy is contagious. And now, each night when I plug in my cellphone and watch the recharge indicator at the top of the screen, I think of those little girls dancing, and I go to bed soothed by the vision and invigorated by the experience of seeing them enjoy life together. For me, my grandchildren are the most powerful chargers in my world. I look at them and sometimes think about the part I played in bringing them to life by giving birth to their father or mother. Now, they are returning the favor and bringing more of life to me. Freelance writer Judy Kramer can be reached by email at JudyandOz@tampabay.rr.com. She is author of "Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age."