My grandad kept a diary for most of his life. In some ways it was very detailed and in others, very general. He noted the wildlife that had visited his garden, the miles the car had done, and who he’d met and chatted to that day. Sometimes though, big life events – like my sister’s birth, got only brief mentions.
As a teenager I was fascinated by these diaries and was allowed to read them. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents when I was little and so I featured in the diary quite a bit. After my grandad died I looked through them again and remember being blown away by some of the small details he’d recorded, in particular the games we played together. This is how I know I played ‘swimming pools’ with him a lot! A simple game that involves putting a blue sheet on the floor and then jumping in to your new imaginary pool.
Through this blog I’m keeping the diarist tradition alive and I’m proud to say I’m also keeping the swimming pool play tradition alive too.
Yesterday I wrote about my niece Bean’s first visit to the zoo. She’s just coming up to two and this trip clearly gave her a lot to think about. I described how she was particularly taken with the penguins, so much so that she wanted to get in with them. While this wasn’t possible in real life, when we got home I spread out a blue quilt on the floor and she and her two cuddly penguins jumped in. The changing mat became a boat and King Russell an island.
She clearly loved this game and was engrossed in her imaginative penguin world for ages. She even insisted on brushing the penguins’ beaks before bed.
This morning her appetite for penguin play was undiminished, which was very sweet – even though it was only 6 o’clock.
In some families they hand down heirlooms, in others, names. I’m proud that in ours it’s imaginative games. I hope she reads back over this in years to come and feels as warmly about our swimming pool games as I did reading my granddad’s diary.