‘Hide and seek’ is a favourite game in our house.
It goes like this: out of nowhere a squeaky little voice demands I count to ten. Then yells “Close you eyes!!!” as feet scamper away. But not very far away. There are three spots in heavy rotation these days – behind a bedroom door, the corner of the couch with a blanket over the head (and only the head) or wedged between the tall cupboard door and shelves in the kitchen.
Not only are these ‘hiding’ spots predictable, they conceal very little… which is the point. As soon as I call out “TEN!” the giggling and rustling begins. After a mere five seconds my little playmates run out of patience and begin to sing “I’m over heeeeere! Look! Look! Look!” If I still look past them (and I often do, because I’m just that kind of seeker) they will start manically waving and jumping up and down. “It’s me! I’m here! Come find me!”
When I finally clue in it’s all laughs and hugs, because being found is the best part. My kids have very little desire to hide. They’re not even interested in winning. But they SO badly want someone to seek them out.
Don’t we all?
I wondered if this is a developmental stage or special needs thing. I wondered if it is an adoption or attachment thing. I’ve decided it’s a human thing.
Why else would I wade through awkward small talk and inane status updates? Why linger after school drop off? Why ask people out to coffee – which I don’t drink and can’t even stand to smell?
I want to know that my face isn’t another blur in the crowd. I’m drawn to people with empathy and insight. I cherish friends who know me well enough to see beyond “fine.” I want to be noticed, understood, appreciated… we all do. We don’t just crave connection, we need it.
I’m not always good at it. It’s exhausting. And scary. I’m more comfortable behind a flickering screen, hiding in my house, snug within my routine. I’m an introvert. I don’t have much time or energy to spare.
Still, there’s a part of me that’s crying out “It’s me! I’m here! Come find me!”
If I try hiding less and seeking more maybe I’ll find someone else who needs it too. Not just in the big wide world, but here in my own home. Not just the building of life long friendships, but in small ways, in passing interactions with strangers.
It’s a basic human reality – we’re all hoping to be found.