Sunday, July 06, 2008
The Magic in Childhood
This is the day of G's birthday party, even though his real birthday is tomorrow, and I have been thinking about ways to make his birthday, his childhood magical and creative. Is it even something we can do, or is it the nature of childhood to see magic everywhere? Maybe it's an innate quality in a child that we can encourage, as parents.
It was a post over at Writing on the Water that got me thinking about my own childhood, and the magic in that. I don't remember planned activities to encourage and stimulate, except maybe baking with my mother. I don't recall that organized things were generally all that magical. Maybe my mother set us out on games and activities, but I only remember what my sister and I did with what we had at hand and our imaginations.
I had summers at my grandfather's farm, where we searched the lawn for Indian Paintbrushes, rolled down the hill, held buttercups up to our chins, played house in the big bush by the road, ran from snap dragons and went hunting in the woods for fairy circles.
And then I had my regular life in Manhattan, in a sprawling, falling down apartment, filled with house plants, cats and room to run up and down the halls. We spent our times making up games, there. We made dolls out of plasticene, dollhouses out of wardrobes, spaceships out of bunkbeds, radioshows out of tape recorders and circuses out of cats and shopping carts (poor cats.) If we took off our shoes, we were Indian Maidens creeping through the forest, or when we took a bath, we were mermaids. That was where I learned how to make something out of nothing, where I learned that if you try and keep trying, you can do anything. It was where I learned that I had the ability, maybe even the right to create. It was also where I learned the power of wishing, and focusing, and singing. And of course, the power of imagination.
Maybe this goes to show that while having the freedom to roam in the great wilderness is a wonderful thing, magic can happen anywhere.
I don't think I've given up on magic, either. I think I still find it today. Maybe that's why I take pictures of strange fungi, or write Science Fiction novels, or read Harry Potter and wait for my belated invitation to Hogwarts. Where have you found magic in your life? In your childhood? In your adulthood?