I remember being a little girl, and my favorite place to be was in my imagination. I loved to dream up stories I was in. I would clean out my parents entire garage and reorganize it as my store. I would imagine that I had lost my entire family and I had to make it on my own. How would I survive, eat, live, etc.
I would turn my parents entire basement into a restaurant and I was the gourmet cook. I would set up tables decked out with the silver and all. I would play for hours by myself or with my best friend. I loved to dream and imagine all sorts of stories, and I lead character in them all. In my dreams I was courageous, heroic, brave, and I could do anything I wanted to. I truly believed I could change the world.
I see this ability to dream in my children. I watch them dress up as super hero's and try to save me from the bad guy. Their stories might be different, but the ability to dream and live in your imagination is priceless. I believe it fuels a desire in us to make things right. To want a better place, and figure out how to create it. It allows us space to be different people and figure out depth of character we posses. How brave am I really? Can I be this courageous in real life? I want to be this kind of hero!
Recently I introduced my boys to the older movie I grew up with, "Newsies". I have to confess, I thought the plot was great, the dancing inspiring, but mainly I just wanted to see Christian Bale in my living room, over and over and over again.
I LOVE this movie. And now my boys have this wonderful admiration for it. It started with listening to some of the music of in the car off a mixed CD my friend made me. They want to listen to it over and over. Then I told them about the movie and it became one of our Friday night family movie selections. They loved it. They couldn't stop watching it.
They have seen it a couple times now and for the past two days, my son Caleb has been dressed up all in black, sporting his cowboy hat, and wearing a red bandanna tied around his neck. He is Jack Kelly, and you should address him as so. I am Jack's mom. Noah really wanted to be the toughest guys in NY, Spot Collins, except we don't own a light plaid shirt or red suspenders. I told him after our Doctor appointment today we would go to the thrift store and see what we could find.
I couldn't promise we would find anything, red suspenders seem like a pretty hard item to find, but I said we would try.
We started navigating our way through the isles and isles of cast off clothing, furniture, toys and general goodies that thrift stores have. Noah politely asked every worker he saw to point us in the direction of the suspenders, he really needed to be Spot Collins and we were looking for his red suspenders. It was amazing watching his nervousness, and excitement of transforming himself into his hero.
I kept thinking to myself, what am I going to do when we don't find any? Can I paint black ones? Can I add red ribbon to them? How can I help him know that even just black suspenders would be OK?
Then low and behold, I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought I was dreaming. But there they were.
We all got excited and shouted in the store, and I grabbed them and quickly starting adjusting them to fit. He looked at me, and said, "Mom you are the best mom in the whole world!" (he has also told me he wants a different mom when he disagrees with the rules, so I don't put all of my stock in these passing statements.)
It was really amazing in that moment to help make my kid's dream come true. To be his helper in creating in his imagination what a hero looks like.
See the boys had lots of questions about what Newsies did, and why they were fighting the men in suits. We had conversations about how the Newsies worked for the men in suits and the men in suits started to steal money from the boys. The boys know that this is wrong, and they decide that together they can stand up for what is right and fight against what is wrong. That together they can stand for justice, and in their stand against evil, they win.
This is who my boys are pretending to be right now. Kids who stand up against what is wrong and evil. They are pretending to fight for good and be boys of courage and bravery.
And hopefully somewhere in their hearts and minds, I pray that they feel the same way I did. That hopefully in their real life, they can be as brave and courageous as they pretend to be. That they will be inspired by their imagination to stand up for what is right.
Today in my own little world, I made a little kids dream come true. When they watched the song, "The world will know" on YouTube this afternoon, to make sure their costumes were right, Caleb shouted out as Jack Kelly started to climb the ladder, "Look Noah that's me! That's me! There I am!"
Here's our wonderful $6 find today from the Thrift store. $6 and his whole world changed.
Jack Kelly and Spot Collins
Spot Collins stands proud in his red suspenders.
I hope you are able to do a little dreaming yourself today.