Live Your Own Fairy tale
I read a article a while back that suggested that our kids are not bored enough. Wait! What?
Where I came from, “bored” was a four letter word. One that would find you picking up rocks all afternoon or in the fall, pine cones. Wanna talk about boring?! I hated those chores SO much that my brother and sister lived under constant treat if they even thought the word.
Instead, we found creative ways to fill our time. And even on those dreaded days when one of us slipped up and we had to scour the yard for every rock or pine cones, I’d make up fairy tale stories.
When my kiddos were younger, I even made up stories for them. I don’t remember all of the one that I told Chicka one stormy night, but I recall that it included the man in the moon and how he watched over her even on nights when I wasn’t there. In my mind, I thought it was an excellent way for us to connect when miles separated us, but OH NO, that’s not how it turned out. I remember the sheer look of terror in her eyes as she turned her baby blues up to me with the cover covering the rest of her face and her plea to “make him go away” because she “did not want the man in the moon watching her!” I recall thinking, ‘Crap, it didn’t work out this way in Fievel!” It took some quick thinking on my part to work out that man in the moon thing so Chicka didn’t grow up with some sort of moon phobia. Geez, it’s easy to screw up a little mind.
Speaking of which, I did it again with my grand-kiddos. When they were little, we had a ravine near our home where a very nice neighbor piled up a bunch of crap that was just perfect for enticing snakes and the like to perch at the edge of our yard. It was just the sort of spooky enough place that drew the kiddos for dares of bravery. Now, I have to tell you another story, so you understand why I picked exactly what I did to warn my little kiddos off.
My father-in-law was one of the first radar instructors during WWII. He was given a manual to train with, but scores were low and students in his class couldn’t grasp the concepts. He took it upon himself to rewrite the book using cartoons as examples (I hoard every cartoon of his I can find) and explained the concept of the electron tube (this means how a small signal to the grid can control a large signal from the cathode to the plate) by using the example of a gorilla throwing coconuts toward a group of monkeys controlling blind levers by working the cords. (He did this so well that even I can understand this concept).
I was thinking of this particular cartoon when I noticed my kiddos out in the yard near the ravine. I yelled out to them, “You’ll wanna stay away from there. Those monkeys don’t like it when you get too close to their home and they’ll start throwing coconuts at you.” It did the trick and I forgot about it. Years later, the kiddos were much older and my nice neighbor had deemed to clean up his mess. We had hidden some Easter eggs near this old spot and I noticed that the kiddos wouldn’t go get them (even though a few of them were in plain sight). When I asked, my grandson said, “Mimi, I’m not interested enough in the eggs to lose my head to a coconut.” Oh WOW!
All this got me to thinking about something else that I tell my kids/kiddos…real magic is everywhere. I’ve tried to show them how to appreciate the wonderful things God gave us to explore – sunrises, bird’s nest, growing plants, etc. There too, I’m often amazed how the things they pick up and give back to me years later. I can see how something small I taught them sparked an interest for them to learn more and THAT my friends is some real magic.
Today, a friend mentioned to me, “You always seem so happy, even when I know you’re going through hell. How do you do it?” I didn’t know what to say at first. Then something my grandmother told me when I was younger came to mind, “PJ, if you’re having a bad day, you can take a whole 24 hours to feel just about as bad as you want to, but after that, get the hell over it.” Of course, I believe that advice was meant specifically for an argument between my cousin, James and me, but it was advice I carried through to other things. I’m sure she had no idea that I would grieve myself nearly to death over a pet kitten I had and then a full 24 hours later thought to myself, get the hell over it. After that, I forced myself to think about my pet up in heaven delighting other children and I didn’t grieve so deeply. But this advice has not always worked. When she died, I tried my best to do the same thing as I’d done with the kitten. That found me a month later squalling uncontrollably in a drug store line waiting for medications. It was so bad that the pharmacist wanted to call the ambulance. Yeah, somethings just don’t work well with the 24 hour rule.
That all got me to thinking about learning to live your own fairy tale.
I mean, if you think about it, fairy tales are not all sugar and sweetness. In fact, most of them were designed as warnings (much like my monkeys throwing coconuts), to keep kiddos from going off into harms way in the forest. And some of them are just downright frightening if you know the real versions vs the ones we do tell our kids.
In a lot of ways, our lives can become our own fairy tales, where we are the star of our show and good (almost) always triumphs over evil. Here’s my list:
- Make your significant other your Prince Charming, warts and all.
- Be intentional in looking for the beauty in your life.
- When given the chance, chose the positive over the negative (though this is a real toughy at times).
- Never stop striving toward a dream, even if it isn’t the one you started with.
- Look at ways that you are successful along the way (small successes build into big successes).
- Own your past, forgive yourself and plan a brighter future.
- Stop being your own worst enemy (that means don’t keep feeding yourself your negative thoughts).
- Never, ever give up on yourself.
- Be realistic, because sometimes there’s going to be a storm.
What other ways would you suggest building a fairy tale life?
Until next time, stay dry (we’re having some very stormy weather here).