My 7 year old draws me brilliant pictures of Angry Birds in battle with the Pigs. He fills the whole page with color. He puts scenes together of dinosaur stickers and tells me stories about how they warn each other of the approaching T-Rex. He flies through the house with paper airplanes, on a mission to bomb the dog, or another equally destructive task.
My 5 year old pretends she's a mommy; usually her little brother is her child. She's also a midwife, helping her sisters to birth a baby. She dresses up in silly mismatched clothes and my shoes. She ties herself up outside, waiting for her older brother to come rescue her from "danger." She brings me trays of plastic food and tells me I need to eat or I will starve.
My 3 year old comes to me with pen and paper, sparkly dress and pig ears, says she's taking orders for lunch. She talks about her "collection" a lot, though I'm not really sure which it is at any one time- crumpled papers, stolen lip gloss or a hodge-podge of tangled bracelets, necklaces and hair-ties from her dress-up bin. But they're all equally important; treasures she's stolen from a dragon (her oldest sister?), or found in a secret cave.
I run through the house with a tiara on my head; I am the zombie princess (or so says the kids), chasing after my prey. I'm eating air-cupcakes and drinking plastic milk as we sit around a pretend table. I tell my daughter stories of her pet "Piggie," detailing our day as Piggie and I had lunch together and went swimming at the park.
My husband is a monster, hiding from the children, waiting to jump out and scare them. He's a horse, a knight, a punching bag as they gang up on him and fight to save their kingdom. He partakes in the food made of air and plastic drinks.... and even a tiara occasionally adorns his head.
The beauty of the imagination is that it is limitless, ageless, effortless. It draws an ordinary family together so as to create and store away extraordinary memories.