The kid who never played. That’s me. The realization hit me yesterday afternoon. Mom and I had our quality time. I was too antsy to sit still and do something that required focus, so mom suggested we go upstairs on the attic and look around, like we sometimes do. I didn’t really want to do that either, but we went anyway.
The attic, you see, is not one of those creepy, dusty, dark places, but a fairly big space with a big gable window, looking down on the garden. There’s old furniture up there, stuff like dressers and armchairs, and shelves and chests, that kind of thing. That, and my siblings’ old toys.
Those are what I usually enjoy looking at. I kind of marvel that three kids would have had so many toys. I mean it’s like a small toy store. Barbie dolls, action heroes, a play kitchen, a tea set, Lego bricks, a doll house, baby toys, matchbox cars and lots of other things, all neatly stacked away.
Yesterday when we were up there and looked at the toys it was different than all other times before, though. Mom suggested we play with something and instantly I felt this weird kind of paralysis come over me. A strong feeling of ‘no, just looking’. I wanted to take one of the little cars that mom held out to me, but I couldn’t make my arm move. It was not a scary feeling, which I find interesting, because just thinking of being unable to move makes me freak, but it was kind of like I knew I was able to move in every other way, just not in the way required to take the toy. So I just stared at it and tried to will my arm to take it, but my arm and hand didn’t obey.
With it came a memory of me being in school. It must have been one of the low grades, like first grade or so, because there were toys. I remembered standing in front of a low shelf. There were puzzles and playdough and a small baby doll. In my memory I am standing there, looking at the things, wanting to take the baby doll, but finding myself unable to move in the same way that I just experienced with the car. So I just stared at the doll for a long time.
I am pretty certain that I never played. I have no single memory of me playing. I have no recollection of having toys, or of any significant toy that I was attached to. I don’t think I ever played by myself, and certainly not with other children. I have memories of watching children play, but not a single one of doing it myself. I am the kid who never played.
Mom eventually put the toy car into my hand, which broke the spell. We ended up playing car crash, by sitting opposite each other and giving the cars a push towards the middle, trying to make them crash. Not the world’s most creative game, but it was silly and fun. 🙂