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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Friday, 1 May 2009
My mother witnessed the power of Rowan's imagination in full persistence this morning. Rowan and I were preparing to travel home and she needed to get dressed. Being a fish, she required specific scales to wear: a blue fish shirt with white and orange fish and matching bottoms~ her favourite outift~ the only one she could and would wear today. The thing is, she doesn't *own* anything of the sort.

She cried and stomped and ran upstairs, loudly slamming things as she searched high and low for the 'favourite outfit'. We couldn't hear everything she said but she was crying out words like 'fishie' and 'shirt' at regular intervals. It was quite a scene.

When she came back downstairs ( I continued about my packing and preparations while this ran its course) and we determined another set of scales would do, my mother decided to push the matter, telling Rowan she was not a fish, but a girl pretending to be a fish.
And there she met the imagination of a child~ complete conviction and a genuine immersion into fantasy as Rowan roared back with unusual vitriol that she was, too, a fish. My Mom asked me with concern if I didn't think we should keep play from running so deeply.

Nope. She meant well and spoke from love and concern and this is no criticism of a grandmother's observances. And she's right in part~ it is darn inconvenient to spend 30 minutes easng an imaginary fish/child into the correct scales for a journey home to the ocean.

And the question played on me.

And then on the way home, one of Ro's CDs played this song by Trout Fishing in America:

Back When I Could Fly

I used to be invisible, a shape changing magic kid.
I could move at the speed of thought and frequently I did,
But my greatest accomplishment was a slow and looping glide.

I saw the tops of everything,
back when I could fly.

I'd take my daily nap on the highest leafy branch,

And follow shooting stars on a comet's fiery lance.

I was quite the prodigy, when I owned the sky.

I never thought I'd have to walk,
back when I could fly.

Keep your eye on the ball, your feet on solid ground.

Always sit up straight and tall and never make a sound.

In just a few short years, I learned not to be a child,

And I forgot the things I had when I was wild.

Now, my child, you'll learn arithmetic, coloring and sports.

You'll have a flair for nouns and verbs, and be late with book reports.
But in spite of all the rules that bind your wings so tight,

I hope you won't forget about the days when you could fly.

I'd take my daily nap on the highest leafy branch,

And follow shooting stars on a comet's fiery lance.

I was quite the prodigy, when I owned the sky.

I never thought I'd have to walk,

I never had to try,

Back when I could fly.

And I knew my fish-girl could go on being a fish, or a dolphin-with-a-long-snout, or a puppy or kitty or Picklesaurus as long as she is able, and I prayed that it will be a long, long time before she has to even try to walk.

Fly, little fishie!


Laura said...

I think Rowan is sounds wonderful. And I know with you as her mother she will never be forced to color her grass green, her sky blue, and all of it inside the lines. Good for you and good for Rowan.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Julie said...

What a beautiful song. As stuffy adults that can't even remember how to fly, I don't really think it's up to us how deeply a child's imagination 'should' run. I love these little things they play that give me just a hint of remembrance.

CanCan (MomMostTraveled) said...

I really needed to read this. My 4 1/2 year old has been trying my patience lately. I need to just take a deep breath and let him be who he is. *exhale*

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