Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Playing Pretend



Who remembers this VW commercial?  The boy who believes he is Darth Vader completely? And to keep his imagination going, dad "helps" the fantasy along a little?  I love this commercial to pieces because I loved to dress up, play pretend, go places in my imagination that were not possible as a child living in a Midwestern suburb in the 1980's.  Given a golden sunny afternoon, I would don the first long and flowing skirt I could find, a straw hat, throw my hair into a bun, and become my own version of a pioneer blazing a trail from Ohio to the frontier.  Or I would be an immigrant coming to the New Country for the first time.  Or simply living in a log cabin in "olden days" as I liked to call them.  Sometimes I'd steal away to one of the empty lots in our neighborhood where there was a flatbed trailer and imagine I lived near the seashore and it was my fishing vessel.  Creeks and ponds were my friends.  Woods were best pals with me.  And if the weather did not cooperate, to the basement I went.  I had all the proper tools as well-slates, a slate pencil, a Goody Reader, a rag doll, reproduction dollar bills, even pretend homemade soap (that is another post entirely!).  With parents who found historical sites to be good vacation side trips, I had gift shops at my disposal for "artifacts."  And bookshelves filled with Laura Ingalls Wilder, American Girl (Kirsten, thank you very much), a series about a pioneering family from Ohio that headed to Oregon, and a few child picture books about Colonial Williamsburg and Sturbridge Village, I felt I was the resident expert on historical accuracy. 

While my son does not hold the same fascination for pioneering life that I once did, I see the same spark of imagination growing in him.  Last night I snuck down to stand outside of his playroom to spy.  In place of my world of rag dolls and slate pencils he has a world filled with spies and superheroes.  I had sewing and cooking.  He has blast-offs and flight paths.  The older I got, the less magical the world of imagination became.  But watching him so immersed in his world is every bit as magical.  Whatever it takes to keep the magic alive for our little man, I am all in.