A strange thought popped into my head as I watched “Peter Pan” last night with my daughter at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.
Daisy May and I have birthdays just two days apart, and the two of us were celebrating at a table for two. She wanted curled hair and lipstick for the special occasion. I couldn’t refuse.
I knew she would be crazy about the pirates (who isn’t?), and smitten with the hilarious Captain Hook, played by the gifted, larger-than-life comedian Jeff Stockberger.(Watching Hook slink down through a hole under the stage, then reverse the process and slink back UP feet first and backwards, is worth the price of admission.)
And I predicted (correctly) that Daisy’s jaw would drop when Peter (Phebe Taylor), Wendy (Kennedy Martin), John (Ethan Gold) and Michael (Holland Barnes) first popped up off the floor and went swinging through the air.
“Would you like it if you could fly?” I asked Daisy. “Yes, yes, YESYESYESSSSS!” she answered.
When Tinker Bell was dying and the audience had to clap their hands to prove they believed in fairies, it was no surprise to me that Daisy clapped her little hands so fast and so hard they turned red. (Tinker Bell survived, thank goodness. My friends in cast had me in hysterics later describing the imaginary apocalyptic scenarios that go down when the audience doesn’t come through, and the fairy dies…)
What surprised me was the strong reaction I had to a moment late in the show. Wendy has grown up and become a mother. Peter appears in her window and asks her to join him on a return trip to Neverland. She tells him not to “waste the pixie dust” on her, because she is too grown up. So instead, Peter invites her daughter to fly away with him.
But to me, being “too grown up” is EXACTLY WHY WE NEED PIXIE DUST. When you’re taking care of so much hard stuff, it is hard to believe in fairies, or to see the pirates and mermaids. It’s almost impossible on some days to get your feet to lift off the ground. That’s why I crave an occasional trip to “Neverland,” which to me just means an experience which takes me outside of the daily routines and responsibilities.
Little ones don’t need pixie dust the way we adults too.
They can find magic under a rock, in a flowering bush or in a makeshift living room fort. Daisy can spend hours mesmerized while hunting for bugs and picking flowers.
Just this afternoon, her 9-year-old sister Clara led friends on a massive treasure hunt without even leaving the house.
I need a clear map to find “treasure.” Kids make their own.
Last night as I held my 5-year-old in my arms, I let the theatre be my pixie dust. I forgot about the many stressful “grown up” things that were weighing on my mind, and let myself completely soak up this night in Neverland with my charming little girl.
For a few hours, we could both fly.