Sunday, March 1, 2015
Birthday Cakes and Snowflakes
Childish wonder. A cake, all sparkles and rainbow colors. Dozens of candles flicker only to blown away moments later. A little girl dreams, then becomes.
When did we lose the sense of wonder? Why must it fade as we grow older?
I watch my niece, Elena, as she shakes a favorite blanket in a sunlit living room. Hundreds of dust motes glisten in the air, and she exclaims, "Look! Snowflakes!" She tries to catch them in chubby, outstretched hands, her face aglow with the innocence of childhood and imagination.
I, too, once imagined. Grape crates my grandfather had for the wine he made became a magical transportation device for my cousin and I. We saw ourselves whisked away to the legendary place he and my Nonna always spoke of: The Old Country.
Playground sliding boards became mountains to climb, as a beloved friend and I had make-believe adventures, running from pretend villains. Buttons, toothpicks, and countless cutouts from the paper became "people" and had marvelous scenarios to be played out.
Oh yes, I can remember it all, and I long for it once again. Perhaps that's why I love to write. For I can pretend in my mind for a short while. The worlds of heroes, villains, good and bad all come to life on a page. Talking cats and mice, love and happily ever after become a reality in my world as if I, too, were a small child watching with wonder as it all unfolds.
Oh, to be younger. To have a whole life before us once more. Never underestimate the gift of imagination and pretend. Play with all your heart with a child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Become, one more time, a princess, fairy queen, wicked stepmother or even a frog. Then you, too, can happily dream of birthday cakes and snowflakes with outstretched hands and hearts.