The Engaging Camilla or How to be Authentic Self
I met Camilla for the first and only time at the Movies in the Park feature at Lake Harriett bandshell. We were waiting patiently for the movie to start and she was with her Mom and others on a blanket next to ours.
As the movie began, Camilla started working the crowd. Jumping around and yelling “Stop!” Not sure what she wanted to stop but we were all smiling.
She strutted her small self around, commanding attention and was far more entertaining, perhaps than Princess Bride, being projected on the big screen.
Before long, Camilla, who could not have been more than 2 years old, decided I looked like a fun playmate. Under the watchful eye of Mom, she waddled over to my blanket and proceeded to grab my hands so she could dance, clamber on my legs and jump up and down.
Talk about “being the change” you want to see in the world. She had absolutely no barriers common amongst us adults – fear, rules, social morays of one sort or another. She knew I was a trustworthy individual and Mom wasn’t that far away.
Camilla tired of dancing on my legs and decided she’d do run and leaps. Before long she and I were hugging and laughing because her tiny, 20 lbs? was enough to push me over when she leaped at me the right way.
The next game she tried to play was running away from us entirely into the crowd. Mom would let her go a bit, to experience some joy of deviousness or adventure, but was soon picking her up and bring her back to the safety of the blanket. Camilla, undeterred tried it again – maybe 3 more times.
It was at this point, she started to stay closer to Mom. Camilla spent the rest of the time with caregivers leaping about until the show ended and she was falling asleep in her stroller.
I tried one last time to say “Goodnight.” Camilla had retreated into herself, ready to fall into a deep sleep; perhaps to dream of circuses. We went our separate ways.
I have thought about Camilla several times since she shared creative play with me. The fearlessless, the audacity to be herself, the strength of character – no holding back there. Her childish innocence coupled with a genuine interest in adventure and other people she found to play with.
She had a strong aura, a charm and trusted her gut instincts/intuition. Her parents, whoever they are, clearly allowed her to maintain her sense of self without imposition, giving her some leeway and adventure while simultaneously placing secure boundaries upon it. Not the usual “be careful.” It was just unstated like a circle of trust, a constant vigilance. Watched but not obscured.
Really, what struck me so much about Camilla, is the lasting impression she has left. A gift. I want to take with me all that adventure, play and fun and bring a bit more of that sassy self into my everyday life. What fun can be had by being brave and daring and silly?