Thursday, September 23, 2010

imagination

When I was little, I loved nothing more than playing dress up.  The more involved, the better.  I had long skirts, "old-fashioned" dresses, shawls, tutus, ballet shoes, a poodle skirt, even a nun's costume.  My friends and I would invent all sorts of play-acting games that centered around my favorite activity in the whole world-pretending to be someone else.  Our favorite one of all...pioneers.  When we were in top form, we even threw in a wagon train made out of picnic table benches and lawn chairs.  When I was in grade school, my dad played the role of the priest in a high school production of "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?"  I went to rehearsals with him just to roam around the costume room and daydream about pilfering it for my own imaginary games.  In college, I took several theatre classes, and one of the classes required volunteer hours in the theatre department.  Where do you think this girl put her time in?  That's right...the costume shop.  When they showed me the "closet" I almost peed my pants.  It was nearly the size of my house.  Holy heck.  Dresses, skirts, hoop skirts, bonnets, boots, petticoats, shawls, fur stoles, soldier's uniforms...you name it, they had it.  I could have lived there.  

Well, as an adult, I don't get to play dress up anymore...you really can't run around your backyard playing pioneers and expect your neighbors to look at you the same.  But yesterday, my son's Halloween costume came and I saw further evidence of my genetic code embedded in him.  He was given multiple options when we were 
ordering, and he chose Buzz Lightyear.  The light in this boy's eyes when we took the costume out of its protective bag could have lit a stadium.  He was down to his underwear in seconds.  Once it was on, he was Buzz Lightyear.  If we called him by his name, he corrected you in stern intonations..."No mommy, I'm Buzz Lightyear.  I'm a space ranger."  I tried to hand him his Buzz toy, and he pushed it away, as if to say, "who needs the toy when I AM the man?"  He stared at himself in the mirrors in our various bathrooms and bedrooms.  He "flew" from room to room.  He lit the wings up in our closet so he could fly in the dark.  Suddenly our three-year old son was braver than brave, could fly, could take on anyone or anything.  That costume had transformed him into another world.  It was at that moment that I felt my childhood reach out and connect to his.  My little girl heart wrap around his little boy heart.  The biggest joy of all is to see our son become a hero.

To infinity and beyond!

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