By Shari Fuller
Thimbles and Acorns
We had been so excited for this day to come, and now that it was here something had changed. After driving home from the hospital, Tom and I brought our brand new little girl in to our bedroom, carefully laid her on the bed, and looked at each other. We knew we were having the same thought. “Now what?” The immensity of the task ahead of us had suddenly struck us with a feeling not unlike sheer terror… the self-confidence of our youth had suddenly vanished and we became keenly aware of just how little we knew. Now, a brand new little life was depending on us and a wave of self-doubt made us wonder if we were up to the job. More than eighteen years have passed since that day, and somehow we manged to muddle our way through and our little girl grew up into a beautiful and delightful young woman despite our shortcomings. We spent the better part of her life preparing her for this day, and yet, as she looks forward to her high school graduation at the end of the month, I find myself asking that same question. “Now what?”
When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. ~ J.M. Barry, Peter Pan
Jacqueline was the little girl I had always wanted… but not quite the little girl I had expected. She was born a dreamer; I could tell by the constant twinkle in her eye and smile on her face. Each day was fresh and full of brand new adventures. There were few shadows in her world as she had an inner glow that made even the darkest days bright with promise. From the time she was three, she adopted Peter Pan as her alter ego which seemed only natural as they were two peas in a pod. From the moment I knew I was going to get my longed-for little girl, I had visions of her playing with dolls that wore little dresses we had sewn together while she listened with rapt attention as I read my collection of “Little House on the Prairie” books to her. That wasn’t to be, however, as Jacqueline much preferred to spend her time flying away to Neverland, rescuing Wendy, fighting pirates, and swimming with mermaids; though she was not quite what I expected, I delighted in following her lead.
All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end. ~ J.M. Barry, Peter Pan
I began motherhood thinking – as a grown up, it was my job to teach her everything she needed to know in life – little did I know that she would be doing most of the teaching. Despite her sunny disposition and bright mind, Jacqueline turned out to be a bit of a challenge. It became very apparent in the beginning that our temperaments were like oil and water. I was very task oriented, but she was very carefree. So carefree in fact, that discipline – whether positive or negative – didn’t affect her. As a child, Jacqueline always lived in the moment; rewards were certainly enjoyed but were fleeting, while punishments passed with happier times ahead. She embraced childhood with her whole being and quite simply was in no hurry to grow up. I wish I could say I learned to embrace her outlook on life early on, but as a grown up I too often let the burdens of living rob me of the pleasures of life.
You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls. ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Parenting wasn’t what I thought it would be… it has been far greater than I could ever have imagined. The journey has been full of twists, turns, and bumps in the road, all of which have made for one very grand adventure. Lessons have gone both ways. Our successes and our failures, our pleasures and our frustrations, our sorrows and our joys have all served to shape us into the women we are today. Over the years Jacqueline’s alter ego slowly changed from Peter to Wendy, and in due time she grew up when she was ready. However, there is still a little Peter Pan tucked “perfectly conspicuous” in the right-hand corner of her mouth. I thank the Lord each and every day for how He has used her in my life, and I can only hope that I have been as good an influence on her as she has been on me. This month begins a new chapter in our lives as Jacqueline graduates from high school. I can’t help but wonder if I have prepared her sufficiently to face the world. Perhaps that is the thing of it; we can never truly be prepared for the next thing in life because we can never really know what the next thing will be. I believe that the best thing I can do for her is to open the window, sprinkle her with pixie dust, and watch her take flight. But please remember, my little Wendy-girl, my window will ALWAYS be open for you!
She was a lovely lady, with a romantic mind and such a sweet mocking mouth. Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that come from the puzzling East, however many you discover there is always one more; and her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand corner. ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan