Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dreaming of Butterfly Wings

“When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry, Take a cherry
Mine are sounder, Mine are rounder
Mine are sweeter, for the eater
When the dews fall. And you'll be fairies all.” ~ Emily Dickinson

Few things are as disarming as the innocent and wondrous eyes of a small child asking for the impossible. I saw those eyes yesterday, when my daughter marched down to the kitchen and asked me how she could get wings and a tail.

A quick glance at my puzzled face told her I was lost, so she proceeded to explain to me that she had decided to be a real fairy. And not a regular fairy, thank you very much – she wanted to be a fairy mermaid, and be able to fly and swim at the same time.

On first instinct – probably out of frustration because she was stepping over my wet floor – I was tempted to tell her that only birds and planes can fly, and only fish can live under the sea. Then I made a fatal mistake – I looked at her eyes. Two huge pools of blue crystal set into a cherub face, staring at me in hope and profound awe.

All I could say was “You’re still a little young, Honey. You need to wait a bit longer, until the queen of fairies decides you are ready.”

Satisfied with my reply she smiled, turned on her heels, and went back to watch the rest of the movie, as I finally released the breath I had been holding in. I went back to my floor – now smeared by little fairy footprints – and thought about my daughter’s wish. A tail and wings. Maybe that wasn’t such an unreasonable request after all.

A tail is used to swim and move gracefully through something fluid and ever changing in form. Like water, emotions can be nurturing or drowning, and as a parent, I strive to teach my children how to deal with feelings in general. By guiding them toward being able to handle a varied range of emotions, I’m indeed giving them the gift of a tail.

Similarly, we teach our children how to spread their own wings and learn how to fly; we give them tools to catch the winds of change under their wings and use those opportunities to lift themselves high above the storms of life.

For once I hadn’t just fallen for the depth of my daughter’s eyes, but I had happily realized that I can make a huge difference in her world. With or without pixie dust I can be the queen of fairies.

1 comment:

Jason Gignac said...

Love the quote - I set up an alert on posts that mention Emily Dickinson. FYI, however, that poem is by Robert Graves :). I have three little boys, and I understand exactly what you're talking about... have a lovely day!