One of the many gifts a child can share with you is the joy of imagination, the ability to sidestep the real world and build a unique environment — one that that can pull in adults and help them recover their own memories of childhood imagination.
Each day is another amazing display of how deep and rich the imagination can run when given free rein. Listening to the soon-to-be 9-year-old dwell in the world she’s created builds memories I will never forget, and takes me back to imagination-inspired realities of my own childhood.
“Look, Dad! I found Dragon!”
Dragon is a small plastic fish, about an inch-and-a-half long, green with waving fins.
Dragon had been out of sight, out of mind until he was recovered from the back yard, where he’d silently wintered until being re-discovered while our daughter took the dog out for a quick break.
Dragon — “It’s pronounced ‘Drag – UN’,” she carefully noted — got a quick rinse under the faucet, and looked as good as new.
Then, Dragon’s World was built, on a kitchen counter. It unfolded as if the world had been long planned. It was a countertop condo fit for a king.
First up was Dragon’s bathtub, a simple cup filled with (of course) water. Next was Dragon’s bedroom, a tall glass with sparkled water (green sparkle, added), and a spoon to keep it mixed. The next stop is Dragon’s relaxing room, another small plastic cup.
What made all of this more special was the way the way it was planned and thought out. Each cup or glass sat on its own piece of paper towel, where the rooms were labeled in green marker. Sure, she methodically explained it all — but I never would’ve been able to remember it without the labels.
The next station was terrestrial: A crumbled M&M on a piece of paper towel, labeled … Dragon’s food. It was the doorstep to the cup labeled Dragon’s feeding room. Finally, Dragon’s “glitter for his bedroom” completed the layout.
Dragon was guided from room to room, as his handler carried on a conversation that was half hers and half Dragon’s.
That’s when the imagination really takes off, once the stage is set and the characters are coming to life.
Simultaneous to Dragon’s homecoming was the staging of a royal wedding in the dining room.
This is a Playmobil production, days in the making.
The marriage of Prince and Princess is an elaborate affair.
A gondola passes a swan and three goslings as it pulls up to the dock. There is a fountain, and white doves. The betrothed pass under a green bower on their way to the open-air, elaborate white gazebo where the ceremony is to take place.
A bridesmaid arrives astride a winged horse. A cat and kittens purr nearby.
“The Prince and the Princess are getting married. The wedding is tomorrow morning,” we’re told. Our presence is requested.
Today is the rehearsal.
I’m in the kitchen and I can hear the dialog developing over the Playmobil scene.
There’s the usual back-and-forth. The gondola arrives at the dock. Everyone makes their way to the altar in the gazebo.
Then, it’s time for the vows.
“We are gathered here today for the wedding of Prince and Princess … Do you, Prince, take Princess to be your awfully wedded wife?”
I snorted and nearly dropped a bowl. “Äwfully wedded.”
No use telling her right now. I’ll wait until the wedding tomorrow.