What does it mean when you let your kids have choc chip cookies one night right at dinnertime because they smell so good and waiting 'til after dinner would be a tragedy? And you go to buy a bra at the shop with your daughter and two minutes later announce, "This is way too boring, let's leave," and to the delight of your girl, visit the toy store instead?
What about the fact you easily choose learning to play Poptropica with your kids over doing the laundry? And you love going to pet the kittens at the RSPCA because, yes, they are so cute? And you totally want to pour water onto the campfire when it's time to leave—because it seems so cool to watch all that steam—and you sneak in a turn before any kids notice?
What does it mean when you don't like bedtimes either? And you think maybe there are some monsters under the bed, or in the bathroom at night?
What does it mean when you find logic annoying sometimes because it gets in the way of spontaneity? And talking about money (earning it, managing it, wanting it) makes you exhausted? And you want to get whatever new pet you and the kids have fallen in love with now—I mean right now—because not getting it is way too dull?
My husband has an answer for this. He says, "You're like a kid, Helena. A kid with adult powers."
Which is either dangerous or liberating, or both. Sometimes it makes you get so caught up in the ending to the movie Babe at the age of 28 that your roommates all laugh at you—you're on the edge of your seat, wide-eyed and transported with joy at Babe's powers. Sometimes it means you love the moment your kids open their Christmas stockings because the look on their faces, in that moment when they see what's inside, is too delicious for words. It makes your skin tingle.
And sometimes it means you want to move to the tropics this minute, because winter's just too ordinary, and you spend a good hour looking up houses in northern Queensland instead of looking for an affordable way to heat your home. And it means you buy a boardgame every single time you enter the toy shop with the kids, so you can't go in too often.
And it means you would pick running a free writers workshop for kids a hundred times over teaching adults for money. Because kids are so great; they are true and fine and interesting. And they live in the moment, always, and love to play and be together. And life can be that simple.
It doesn't earn you much, being a kid inside. And plenty of times, I manage to take out my adult powers and use them for practical, sensible things. But the kid in me is always there, and I can't shake her—she is my skin and my spirit, one of the best parts of me I have.