JM Barrie’s Peter Pan has always been one of my favorite stories. As a child I was mesmerized by Mary Martin’s stage performance, and, as an early reader, the book was one of the first “literary classics” I read. I loved it all. The flying, the pirates, the adventure, the humor. I wanted to BE Peter Pan.
Last night, I went with one of my sons to watch a stage production of Peter Pan. Watching him take in the show was the highlight of my night. The way his eyes lit up as the crocodile slithered onto stage. His whisper as he asked if Peter Pan would really drink the poison Captain Hook left for him. The treasured moment when he showed he believed in fairies by enthusiastically adding his claps to the audience’s to bring Tinkerbell back to life.
Afterwards, I told him how much I loved the story of Peter Pan as a child. I told him I once tried to catch a fairy by setting a sparkly, sticky trap, knowing that if I could just get some fairy dust I might be able to fly. I listened as he planned out loud, adding his 21st Century revisions to my simplistic fairy trap. (It was a much better design after adding cameras, robotic arms, and sparkle-sensors.)
As I drove home I thought of how much that night resembled the last scene in Peter Pan. Only moments before, Wendy returns home from Neverland. With one quick scene change, Peter arrives at the nursery to find Wendy a grown woman, her own child sleeping nearby. While Peter never did grow up, Wendy has, so her daughter takes her place in the next adventure in Neverland.
While I so vividly remember my childhood fascination with the story of Peter Pan, I am now “ever so much more than twenty” and I find myself passing the treasured tale on to my own children.
And though I may try to make them promise they won’t grow up, it all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. One simple scene change.
I’m not quite ready to join ranks with the Lost Boys, but it all brought to mind the many times I’ve had someone who’s already moved on past their child rearing years pat me on the arm and say, with a tender sincerity in their eyes, “Enjoy this. It goes by so fast.”
It reminds me to …
Slow down and look them in the eyes more.
Read more stories. Listen to more stories.
Create the memorable scenes together.
Believe in fairies.
Push aside the tasks on my to-do list and focus more on the work of childhood.
Because, they will grow up.
What do you do to treasure childhood?
Denise Manning says
Love it! I had a similar thought yesterday while waiting for my nine-year-old daughter’s turn at teh dentist. Another mom came in with her daughter (I am guessing she was sixteen or so) and it made me think how she was in my position, reading stories and making silly jokes, not that long ago and how I would be in her shoes before I knew it. I remembered the first time I brought Grace to the dentist when she was three. Although it was six years ago, it seems like only a few minutes. I really struggle with them growing up, but I am trying not to let my sorrow for what they were cloud today, because that will be gone before I know it too! (So when we left I took my daughter on a girls’ date of an ice cream and a manicure!)
We just took our youngest to his first dentist appointment and I had the same thoughts as I looked at our oldest there as well, thinking about when it was his first appointment. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but he has already changed so much! I agree with your sentiment – we can’t let “sorrow for what they were cloud today”. I take great pride in helping them grow, learn, and change. I’m just trying to remind myself to live fully in where we are right now. Thanks for adding your thoughts!
Beautiful. My son’s recent obsession with Peter Pan and my own recent dismay at how quickly time flies made this blog post particularly touching. Thanks for exceptional writing, meaningful thoughts, and purposeful contributions to child development. I love your work!
Thank you so much, Tamara.
Rachele @ Messy Kids says
Much to my family’s dismay, I often allow my son to sleep with me. He slept in our room forever before finally becoming old enough to enjoy the bunk bed we had in his sister’s room (which is now his room since his sister moved to a different one). My family thought we were crazy but actually, we enjoyed it. We know he’ll be young once and before long he’ll want nothing to do with us. My husband recently took a job in Los Angeles and for most of the week, it’s just my son and me (his sister spends part of the time with her dad). I’ve been allowing him to sleep in my big, comfy bed with me at night. It’s a special time for us. Something he can only do when daddy is “at work” (my daughter also enjoyed this treat the other night). Right now, my son is 4 and my daughter is 8, but before I know it, they’ll be grown and on their own. Not every moment is special (I’m talking tantrums here!) but those that are, I want to hold onto for as long as possible because one day, I’ll turn around, and two young adults are staring back at me.
I had to smile when I read “much to my family’s dismay”. I often have people ask me if I think co-sleeping is a problem. My answer: Is it a problem for you or your child? Other opinions come much further down on the list (if at all :0) Enjoy your little ones!
Moriyah Shalom says
I really enjoyed this post. Rather than writing more I am going off to play with my three little Peter Pans and my 1 month old Wendy.
Hands Free Mama says
I love this! A little over a year ago, I had a breakdown resulting from this very awareness. In my overscheduled, highly distracted, hurried life I was missing all the moments … the moments that make life worth living. I began making changes to let go of distraction and to live in the moment. I felt like I started living and connecting to what truly matters. I am so happy to see another parent sending the same message! I am blessed to have read this tonight.