The other night, I couldn’t sleep. This rarely happens to me. Usually, I am a master at conquering the pillow, but that night … it eluded me. Instead of counting sheep, however, I ended up letting my mind take over – never a good thing. And in about ten minutes, I was crying about how this might very well be the last year that my son believes in Santa. Crazy that I would lose sleep over this, and yet it is a very real, very deep heart-hurt for me. Because things like Santa, and Neverland, superheroes or fairies, represent so much more than characters from a storybook or holiday … they represent wonder and imagination, and the power of pretend and what if?
Don’t you remember how it felt? Believing in things you couldn’t explain and delighting in the mystery of it all? I want that feeling to stay for them. I would protect it at any cost if I could, but I can’t. People talk. Kids overhear. Beliefs shatter, and reality sets in … spoiling everything. My husband tries to console me saying that since I never lost my imagination, they won’t either. It is in the way we live and perceive things, not in who they do or don’t know is real. I hope so.
I guess it ties back into the same problem I have with the word “forever.” I am always equal parts shocked and shaken when people say, “I’ll live here forever,” or “This is our forever plan.” I literally shudder. And I can’t decide if this means something is wrong with me in terms of commitment, or in terms of perception. I feel like the word puts an end to our stories … and it leaves no room for the unwritten possibilities to play. There is something beautiful about order, and planning … but I like my personal definition to somewhat resemble Roman Payne’s description of a character in his book The Wanderess, “She was a ‘wanderess.’ Thus she didn’t care about money, only experiences – whether they came from wealth or poverty, it was all the same to her.”
I’m not sure I have any solutions to the inevitable, or if I’m even looking for any. My children will learn the ways of the world soon enough. I guess, I think we just need to live with equal parts intention and attention. We need to not only hope for, but seek out opportunities to share in the wonder of everyday magic, and allow ourselves to travel a path slightly overgrown and wild, for that is where adventure lies. So maybe the next time I can’t sleep, instead of counting sheep, I’ll focus on my “forever” plan … of making space for what-ifs, for imagination, and always, for pretend.
Wander far and wide my friends,