Pretending to be a Siberian husky to my 8-year-old is something I never thought I’d treasure.
Any parent to a young child will likely be familiar with Paw Patrol, a cartoon about six dogs saving the day at Adventure Bay.
T has outgrown this show, but one character has stuck with him: Everest, a Siberian husky that first appeared in Season 2.
A day often doesn’t go by without him asking me, “Papa, let’s play Everest.”
Playing Everest is T’s code for “let’s hang out.”
It often involves pretend play, stuffed pets and building a fort. Frequently, he incorporates things he’s thinking about – like his Aunt’s recent death – into the play.
It could also be simply just us sitting next to each other and talking.
It amuses me to think of T imagining me being a husky. He often corrects me when I break character and says I’m a dog, not a human.
Playing Everest could take place indoors or outdoors at the park or playground.
We live in an old 1960s home and since moving in four years ago, we’re slowly saving up to renovate.
In the meantime, our unfurnished living room is an empty canvas for T to bring to life with his infectious creativity and endless imagination.
I once read that kids don’t ask you to talk about things; instead, they ask you to play with them. And this has always stuck with me.
I know T’s days are filled with ups and downs at school, on the bus and at daycare – and it is often painful for me think of about this.
So I try my best to make time to be Everest, even when I myself feel drained and need time to myself.
I treasure these moments, because I know childhood flies by and it won’t always be like this.
I especially value these moments, because these are the moments in each day when T is at his purest, kindest and joyful best.
It balances the moments when he can be moody or disregulated.
At a recent team building exercise at work, my colleague led a session about the importance of reflecting on the things that bring us joy.
Each person was asked to talk about one thing that brings them joy.
I chose being Everest and when I spoke about for the brief minute I had, I felt joy and gratitude.
As the Paw Patrol would often say, “No job too big, no pup too small…”