Never Forgetting Neverland

The last two weeks I spent some of my free time reading through Peter Pan for the first time. I realized how much I have missed reading books simply for the sake of enjoying the story. The last four years have been packed with textbooks and (amazing) theology and Christian Living books that I did not have much time to pour into a fun piece of fiction.

2007WDPPGC01XLNeedless to say I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Pan. It was written beautifully. It made me laugh, think, cry…and then it made me mad…

At the end of the story Wendy is grown up. She is a mother and has forgotten pretty much everything that happened to her as a child when she flew off to Neverland with Peter. She even smiles patronizingly at Peter’s sadness when he cries about how old she is! It made me so mad. I practically shouted at the book, “how dare you forget?! How is that possible?!”

Wendy was grown up. You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than other girls. – Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

But then, after reading those three lines, I saw how much I am like Wendy. And it scared me. Bad.

~~~

Part of me, my personality, is that I have always been the girl who wanted to be older. My parents and my extended family say I was just born older, which is probably true in some respects, but I also have always had this constant desire to move on to the next step. If there was a way to get a move on with my life, to see what experiences my next age would give me, I wanted to take it. People told me to slow down and enjoy my childhood (whatever that meant) and I thought them incredibly irritating (sorry…everyone). I mean, why? To me it seemed as if they were trying to hold me back from something so much greater (whatever that was).

Basically I have wanted to be here in adulthood for my whole life, and I love it—school, work, writing, ministry, friends, family—life is good. But I am finding that a touch of what all those irritating people said is true. In some respects I feel as if I’m trying to get back to 8 years ago through the old adventure books I’m reading, as I am dressing up like Robin Hood for VBS, babysitting, obsessing over superhero movies, and playing crazy games with little boys as we nerd out over stories, shoot each other with nerf darts and make home movies. ships,drawing,map,pirate,neverland-3e62ccf11a969449e070fb576ad41abe_h

I cannot quite articulate it, but as I finished Peter Pan I went into a panic about that fact that I am about to turn 18. It’s like I snapped into the reality that the official and legal title of “adult” is descending upon me—I can’t be the child who is an adult anymore, I am simply the adult. I have found myself declaring these strong vows in my mind about how I am not going to forget Neverland.

Please go ahead and laugh, it’s okay, so am I!

Maybe I am having some kind of crisis here, but I’d like to think of it as more of a decision to never lose touch with what it means to be a child—to have awe, to enjoy innocence, to love adventure, to see beauty in the smallest of things.

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6 thoughts on “Never Forgetting Neverland

  1. Love that last line, Emily, very insightful. 🙂 I was always eager to move on from childhood too- maybe it’s part of being the oldest one in our families? Still, although I love those moments of recaptured fun, I always found Netherland a bit too idealistic and Utopian for my tastes. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t the best kid, so I’m glad that I have grown up and found what it truly means to be a Christian and to have heartfelt relationships with other people. 🙂 I feel like being eighteen is the best of both worlds, because you have developed discernment and character but you can also remember and hold on to that childhood beauty.

    Keep up the great work on your blog, I always enjoy reading your beautiful writing! ❤

    ~Rachel

    • Oh I am pretty positive that it’s an oldest child trait. 😉 Haha, I totally know what you mean! I was one of those kids who couldn’t stand Elsie Dinsmore because she was too perfect. =P I’m working on that…

      Thank you for your insight and sweet encouragement, Rachel! I’m so glad that you enjoy reading my work. 🙂

  2. Very good observation 🙂 I think part of the discussion might be to define what exactly it means to be a child, and what spirit we are afraid of loosing… How can that child-like wonder, and joyful nature not be attached to age, but to a view of the world?

    I was reminded of the small bit about Susan in the Last Battle:

    “Oh, Susan! She’s interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”
    “Grown-up, indeed. I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”

    Whereas the other adults “grew up” without loosing sight of the magic, joy and beauty of life..

  3. I’ve always loved reading your work. And reading your blog was a joy. 🙂 Having had a childhood and having raised two boys through their childhoods, I have come to a realization, which my friends agree with when I share it with them: it is in being a parent that you truly and fully experience childhood. I know that doesn’t seem quite right, but I believe it’s true. Of course, you have to be my age to understand it. haha Even if you had fully relished every moment of your childhood, you would find, or rather, you will find as you grow older, that you still have only limited memories. But your parents? They have gabillions and gazillions of memories of YOUR childhood. Perhaps you did rush your own childhood a bit? But my simple advice to all parents is to not rush the childhoods of their children, to savor every moment as much as possible because, strangely, THAT is when they will most experience childhood themselves. Ah just wait until you are a mommy! And I know you will be a wonderful mother. This will all make more sense then. Blessings to you sweet Emily! I have always said that it is the writing process itself which is your best teacher, so keep writing! 🙂 ~ Mrs. Karen West

    • That’s exactly what Mom and Dad told me last night. 🙂 I look forward to enjoying those moments just as you and countless other mothers and fathers have.

      Thank you, Mrs. West, for your sweet encouragement. It means a lot to me that you enjoy reading what I write. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going with my writing, but it’s people like you who come alongside to teach and encourage that get me through it. 🙂

      Many blessings to you!

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