Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Advice from Peter Pan

Over the weekend, my daughter turned three years old and was baptized. Three years old. I'm more in awe of this fact than I am that she didn't turn to the congregation during the baptism and announce that she was going to get "big girl underwear" when she starts "tee-teeing and poo-pooing in the potty." I was sure it was going to either be that or, "Mama? Who are all these people? Why's that man putting water on my head?"

Witness our desperation.
We call this shot, "Waiting for the Tee-Tee"
And no, she's still not potty trained. I know. I don't want to talk about it right now.

Everything, however, went off  mostly without a hitch. We hosted a "pirate ship party"--per her exact instructions--at the Pink Beds Picnic Area of the Pisgah National Forest, had gorgeous weather, hung out with cool people, ate cake, and drank mimosas. It was a fabulous morning.

Yes, we drank mimosas. Not sure if this is legal in the national forest or not. My husband and I decided there needed to adult beverages to celebrate our reaching the 3-years-of-parenthood point. Like how I slipped that in there, don't you?

She was baptized at the United Methodist Church in our town. Her bear, Baloo, was also baptized. My Mom saved the day with an emergency purse sucker. And, we officially joined the church we've been visiting for a while now. Here we are before heading into church. See how neat and tidy we look? We didn't look quite like this afterwards.

All in all, a dang good weekend.

This morning, I turned to my calendar--which I have positioned on the wall, at eye level, next to my pristine and beautifully bare desk. (Cough.) But that calendar, egads! It said today is July 31! This should come as no surprise to me, really, since my daughter's birthday is July 29. And still, I am flummoxed.

What happened to the summer?

When I was a kid, my parents told me that this would happen. They said, "Life will only go by faster the older you get." They also said, "The nerdy boys will turn out to be the real catches, so appreciate them," "You'll regret it if you don't spend that summer in Alaska," and "Marry someone you can have fun with for the rest of your life."

Gems, pure gems. I, like most people, realized my parents were brilliant the moment I turned 21.

But this life-speeding-by-thing. Man, that's a kick in the pants.

J.M. Barrie
Photo credit: www.biography.com
On of my favorite writers, J.M. Barrie--the Scottish playwright who wrote Peter Pan--offers a little wisdom on this front, and I like to try to remember it.

On May 3, 1922, Barrie addressed the graduating class at St. Andrews University in Scotland. His speech was very much about courage--about how to walk through your life as a good person, and how to make sense of it.

(On a side note, his address is incredible, and Barrie seems a bit of the soothsayer. Consider this challenge he issues to the graduates before him, and remember that this was 1922:

"I want you to take up this position: That youth have for too long left exclusively in our hands the decisions in national matters that are more vital to them than to us. Things about the next war, for instance, and why the last one ever had a beginning. I use the word fight because it must, I think, begin with a challenge; but the aim is the reverse of antagonism, it is partnership. I want you to hold that the time has arrived for youth to demand that partnership, and to demand it courageously."


The whole speech is incredible, truly, and worth reading. But it's what he says about time that stands out for me, especially in these quickly passing summer days when I've got ten different roles I need to play--and be good at--and a million things to do. On a larger scale, I think it speaks to our desperate need as modern Americans to slow ourselves, to calm our brains, to put away the (mostly electronic) nonsense--even temporarily--and to remember what it's like to be human, corporeal and flawed, flesh and blood and bone with only a limited time on this planet.

Barrie said: "You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip."

All summer, I've been trying to let "the golden hours" slip. I've written about it here. Most of what I write about here, it seems, are my aspirations. Sometimes I reach them, but mostly I fall short. And even as I write the first sentence in this paragraph, I realize I'm sort of lying to myself.

So, as July moves into August, and we're faced with truly terrifying calendars and the threat of a busy Fall to come, here's to letting "the golden hours slip by."

I think we could all benefit from a little advice from Peter Pan.

Photo credit: www.en.wikipedia.com

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