Wendy Goes Adventuring
There are two places I wanted to be as a child: Sherwood Forest at Robin Hood’s side or adventuring in Neverland with Peter Pan. Either way, I was bound to be cloaked in green and running about shooting arrows at some foe; whether they where sheriff or pirate made no difference to me. Both where elaborate fantasy lives but what made Never Land the more tempting was the promise of never having to grow up.
My grandparents, generously, every birthday give their twelve grandchildren checks to add to our college accounts. It never seemed that impressive to me, just a slip of paper tucked into an envelope. I didn’t understand the value of the gift, and what’s worse, the seemingly useless present came with strings attached- strings of never-ending questions like “What do you want to do when you grow up?” or “Where are you going to college?” Traditionally, in the play, the actor who plays the Darling’s father also plays the dastardly Captain Hook, for all adults are pirates.
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And it did feel like my own free will was being stolen from me and left to wreck on shore; I was told the professions I should do, the places I should go, even if they held no interest to me.
I was Wendy, bright-eyed and imaginative, a story-teller; the girl on the cusp of growing up. And I hated it; I wasn’t ready to cross the threshold just yet. If my Mother would have let me, I would have left my windows open every night, in hopes Peter would visit. Surely he could save me from the terrible promise of my future, before I grew too old to save?
But in the odd ways you don’t notice, I was growing up. I grew in and out of new clothes, tucked my dolls away in boxes, grew and settled into my role of the “mother hen” among my friends. The one childish impulse I couldn’t buck was my distaste for school and the urge to escape it. School was the portent that childhood would end, even the small scraps I clung to. I scoffed at fellow classmates who spoke in reverent voices of the colleges they would one day attend; more school was not an option I ever considered. The fact is, things change. Wendy runs to Never Land because she doesn’t want to grow up, but Never Land is the reason why she does.
Maybe I really did fly away on pixie dust and happy thoughts. If that’s what it takes to change, I certainly have. I’ve ridden the Jolly Roger, searched for treasure on Marooner’s Rock, danced with Tiger Lily, and flown with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell- second star to the right and straight on till morning, because college is no longer the threat it once was. It’s a promise of adventure I could never see; where I can choose the ways I want to go. College means growing up, but growing up doesn’t mean washing all the color out of life. It just expands the fields you play on, unveils treasure maps of even greater value. I am Wendy, bright-eyed and imaginative, a story-teller, girl-grown-up. And this is just my next adventure.