This book, Julia, Child  by Kyo Maclear has been traveling around my house for weeks now. It’s a library book I’ve renewed three times, I can’t bear to part with it. Perhaps this is a clear indication I should buy it.

The illustrator, Julie Morstad, must be mentioned because the pictures are what truly bring the story to life. Honestly, I could look at them all day.

The story is a fictional account of Julia Child as a child centering on the themes of “friendship, food, and unhurried delights.”

Julia and her best friend Simca decide to make recipes for “growing young”, hoping to help the big, busy adults remember what it’s like to have a marvelous time- starting by simply slowing down enough to share a savory meal.

I thought of this book the other day while at the playground with the boys and friends. A couple, perhaps ten years older than me, were swinging on the tire swing, climbing up the rock wall, and balancing on the rope line. I had trouble taking my eyes off of them because they were clearly having a blast.

In passing, I said to the man, “You guys look like you’re having a good time.”

To which he replied, “These parks are really for adults you know.” He smiled sincerely and went on his way.

I looked around at all the other adults sitting around, drinking their coffee, checking their Iphones, with one distracted eye on their children.

Ugh, when did I become one of them?

And then I headed over to the big circle swing with Owen. I lifted him up and told him to hold on and then, holding on to the swing, I ran as fast as I could to get it spinning and then held on with all my might. My body splayed outwards and I lifted my knees so I wouldn’t hit the ground. It was like being on the Magic Tea Cups at Disney World but you had to actually use your upper body strength to hold on rather than fumble over the spinning wheel. The lower parts of our bodies were flying, whipping around and around in circles. Owen and I locked eyes and let a loud laugh erupt between us.

This is awesome, I thought. I planted my feet back on the ground and looked around. A few adults nearby were clearly entertained. They smiled and one man gave me a look that said,

Rock on sister.

Of course, he could have just been thinking I was crazy. This is stuffy, reserved Northern Virginia after all. Regardless, I took it as encouragement to take another dozen spins around the swing. I even coerced my friend, Mike to partake. (We exchanged stories of sore muscles and chapped hands the next day. Man, we are really out of practice.)

Anyways, fun times it was. I’ve held on to this book because I knew I wanted to share it on the blog. I had this grand plan to cook all day and invite friends over to enjoy a savory meal- Julia style. It is a good plan and I still hope to do it. But really, I was missing the point. I didn’t need to add one more thing to my already maxed out to-do list. Instead, I needed to put that very to-do list aside and give myself permission to have a “marvelous, rowdy, childlike time”, as Julia suggests.

“The truth is grown-ups often need some extra help. Baffled and befuddled, mindless and muddled, they sometimes forget what they know.”

Thanks to Julia, Simca, and that lovely couple at the playground for reminding me of what I already know- marvelous, rowdy, childlike times are good for the soul.