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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chuck E Cheese and a Longing for Childhood

I had not been back to Chuck E Cheese since I was really young. Back then, they had those really awkward and scary animatronic shows that were the source of most kids’ nightmares.

Things have changed a tad.

I went to a guy from church’s 21st birthday party at Chuck E Cheese and there were some familiar elements: lots of games, plethora of kids and adults, mediocre pizza, and the guy/girl in the rat suit. I used my tokens to play some Elvis pinball and then bled most of my tokens dry shooting Aliens (not because I am any good, but because I kept dying). I went to sit down to eat and set my tokens on the napkin holder.

Big mistake.

A few minutes later, a kid comes a long looking for tokens. He spies mine and before I can even give him permission, he runs off with them.

I got mugged in Chuck E Cheese.

Well, that was all of the game playing for me so I sat down and watched the birthday party of little kid a few tables down; the kid looked really happy; as if everything he had ever wanted was happening in that moment. I could not help but watch him and his seemingly loving family come around one another and just be able to celebrate the moment.

That is when I started longing for another childhood.

I remembered the last birthday party I had at Chuck E Cheese, no friends, just family. I remembered a different outcome; I remembered being yelled at, I remember my dad’s constant groaning, and I remember not playing any of the games.

I remembered what seemed to sum up my very unhappy childhood. I had a weird longing to go back and live it again; but this time I would have friends, my dad would like me, and I would have so many opportunities to play to my heart’s content.

Parents and future parents, let your kids be kids; don’t make them be adults. Don’t let them grow up thinking that they have to be perfect, because if they don’t their parents won’t like them and maybe even love them. Let them enjoy their childhood while it lasts and let them have fond memories to share with their children.

Don’t rob them of their memories; it’s almost as bad as robbing them of their dreams.

Grace and Peace


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