“Dad, will you read me a story?”
“I guess so, Ethan, after you brush your teeth and get ready for bed.”
Normally, by bed-time, I’m exhausted, and to interrupt my path toward bed at that point any more than necessary can be dangerous.
The biggest obstacle between me and bed is usually the 6 kids who need my
coercion attention to get into bed themselves. By the time I’m engaged in overcoming that obstacle, I’m seldom interested in entertaining any activity that will slow down the process. If the stories haven’t been done already, or if Renee isn’t around to do the reading, I’m mostly void of compassion.
On this particular night, I must have had some serious bad-parent guilt. (I get that often, mostly the morning after, when I realize another day has gone by with too little parent-child interaction; too many withdrawals, not enough deposits.)
“Dad, I want to read this story!”
“No, Ethan, not that Peter Pan book! It’s too long!”
One of the tolerable things about books for children is that they’re mostly pictures. 24 pages with lots of pictures and no more than 10 words per page. I can handle that, if I can handle anything, but those crazy little Golden Books with Disney stories are ridiculous. They actually have more than one paragraph per page, and up to 40 whole pages.
“Please, Dad! I wanna read this one.”
Serious bad-parent guilt.
“Okay, fine, but that’s it!”
I have actually fallen asleep reading stories to my children before. The chances of me making it to the part where Captain Hook gets chased away by the giant crocodile is slim.
Then came the pixie dust.
For the Darling children to fly to Neverland – for anyone to fly, for that matter – two things are required: Happy Thoughts and Pixie Dust.
Pixie Dust is only available from Neverland, and only from fairies. Enter Tinkerbell. She rocks.
It’s a good thing that part happens early in the book. It kept my interest.
Over the last year, I’ve found myself saying something like this to people who are silly enough to engage an out of touch, father of ten in conversation: “You can think all the Happy Thoughts you want, but you can’t fly without Pixie Dust.”
Here’s the thing, I guess . . . I believe I can fly. Not just, like, fly away to heaven some day. I believe I can fly; I can rise above. I can soar. I can see and do and be more.
I know. It’s cheesy. It’s silly and immature. It’s irrational and naive. I know. It sounds like a bad pep talk, or a hit song from a boy band.
You know what, though: I think you think that, too. I think you’ve sang that song. I think you think you can fly, or at least you used to think so, or at least you want to think so. You want to fly. It’s okay to admit it! You know you want to!
Peter Pan had to take the Darlings to Neverland because Wendy was growing up. She was moving out of the nursery. In Neverland, she would never have to grow up. Kids don’t get older there. They stay young. They can fly – with Happy Thoughts and Pixie Dust, and they’re “immature” forever. It’s fun.
I think authenticity demands an acknowledgement of our desire to fly. We all know it’s the best superhero ability, anyway.
Jesus said something about having to be like children to enter the kingdom of heaven, didn’t he?
Ethan and I are certain we can fly. All we need are Happy Thoughts which are easy to come by, except at bed-time, and some Pixie Dust.
Our house is filled with fairies and Pixie Dust. They’re from Neverland.
Do you have your own Pixie Dust? If so, what is it and where does it come from? Tell me about it. If not, I’m willing to share. We have extra.