Saturday, April 30, 2011

"I Won't Grow Up!...or Will I?", or Understanding Wendy

Many of you already know of my fascination (obsession?) with the story of Peter Pan. This week Hannah and I have been watching movies related to Peter Pan, and I've been re-reading the charming tale by J.M. Barrie. So as nice as birthdays can be, what with the presents and special attentions and thoughtful words, each one is a reminder to me of the ticking croc of Time that chases all of us... even me. In my heart I don't want to grow up, and I think a part of me never will, but still...

Yesterday was not without its magic, though. It has rained here for the past week or so, and yesterday morning burst bright and clear, with very green grass and very yellow dandelions, and sparkling raindrops on everything. I was peppered with notes and cards and phone calls and gifts and hugs all day long, which filled my love-tank up to the brim. And the day ended with chocolate treats shared with my very own beloved collection of "Lost Girls" dancing and singing and refusing to go to bed.

Funny thing is, this year I relate more to the character of Wendy than I ever have before. Last night, one of my girls told me - for the second time - that I am like a "Momma" to her and the other girls. Momma - not Auntie, or Sister, or Friend as I have been before with other girls. And I've found that as much as I love to play, I am more aware of responsibilities and needs and problems than before, and sometimes it causes me to leave the games and sit at the window, keeping a cautious eye on my kids or removing potential dangers as I notice them. I love talking with them about their day and helping them with homework and giving advice or encouragement. I feel happy when I know they are safe and well, and I worry when they aren't. If they needed patches for their clothes, I'd probably love to do that too!

Wendy went to Neverland because she was enchanted by the thought of never growing up, always pretending and being part of the play. And yet, when she tried to do that she found herself stepping into the role of the adult. Part of her loved that role and when she played it she realized that afterall, she did in fact want to grow up. (Yes, for those of you sad people out there who don't know the story, she leaves her childhood behind in Neverland, goes home, and grows up. I would call a "Spoiler Alert," but really, you should know this by now.) Ironically, she brings back the Lost Boys with her and adopts them all, which is a dream I have also developed.

Not that I feel like I'm so mature now... I am still childish about so many things and resist grown-up things whenever I can. The saddest thing about Wendy is that it seems she gave up her childhood - imagination, fun, nonsense, innocence - completely. I think it is possible to grow up in good ways and still retain the charm and beauty of the spirit of youth. That is something I want to work hard to preserve as I transition into adulthood. I love Peter Pan, and am not willing to give up Neverland quite yet.

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