I believe in childhood. Not just the act of being a child, but living as a child. The magic you experience as a child can never happen again in life. The exuberance you feel before reality sets in; that life can be anything at all: that you can dig to China on the beach if you work long enough, that your parents know everything there is to know, and that they will protect you from all the monsters under your bed or hiding in your closet.
Having four younger siblings surrounds me with different stages of this childhood. And I see it in so many forms. I see the eleven-year-old girls who worry about being fat, the nine-year-old boys who talk about how much money they have, and the five year old kids who argue whose bike is better. As I sit and listen to these kids talk, I wonder where that childhood went, where the society we’ve created hid it. Then I see the other children, the ones whose parents realize the true value of being young: the kids who run around in fairy wings because they believe they can fly, the kids who tell you they want to “grow up to be a pig, because they’re the nicest;” the kids who truly believe in themselves and the world they live in.
I know the childhood I had– where there were elves living in my garden, fairies slipping in to give me good dreams in the middle of the night, and the occasional monster hiding in my closet– shaped who I am today. These simple fantasies gave me the courage to believe in the impossible, and it’s helped me get through a lot.
I sit on my front porch, and watch all the neighborhood kids who walk by, and think about how different they are from one another. One day as I am sitting, my brother comes up and he looks at me and plainly states, “May -May, there’s a dragon in our garden.” I laugh, because the dreams of children today are the reality of the future. And the magic they live in will shape them as people, and give them the courage to believe.
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