March 2, 2015


I never write about current events.  I don't write about politics, religion (ok, almost never now, I guess), mommy wars, or anything I might happen to come across in the news.  But today in the car on the way to preschool The Geel asked me where unicorns live and I thought of the small boy in Texas suspended for, well, basically for using his imagination.

Now, I knew the source of her question was the colorfully awful Barbie movie she had watched over the weekend.  It had fairies and mermaids and unicorns and a terribly moronic storyline about some bratty little princess who is stealing everyone's magic--including the queen unicorn's.

By way of an answer I was immediately and acutely aware of my need to be practical and educative and give her the "right" answer.  The same feelings have always haunted me regarding Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny--lets be "real" here-- but of course we have celebrated all of them for years because, childhood, duh!  In a space of seconds I thought through several options;

1. Tell her they are only in Barbie movies. (Dumber than the plot of the stupid movie itself--and why should Barbie have all the fun?)
2. Be the asshole that kills her imaginative spirit and tell her they're not real. (Not it!)
3. Make something up. (FAST!)

Now, for someone who was a theater major in college I am terrible at pretending things.  I HATE playing with Barbies,
or baby dolls, or playing "store."  (It is a testament to The Sarge's patience that he makes it through several days a week with The Geel doing ALL of those things.)  These days my imagination runs wild with less fun things like wondering what would happen if something happened to me or The Sarge, or less practical things like what I would do with lottery money (that we'll never win because we don't play! How's that for impractical?)

Anyway, I can't always just drum up the fun, playful, whimsical things that would answer her question and that she deserved to hear, because she's THREE!  And when you're three unicorns should be real.  What I came up with was that unicorns can only live in magical places. Which she pretended to understand but which also prompted more questions about where those places were and whether or not she could go there, and then she circled around again to Barbie and her magical Secret Door and yada, yada, yada.

I don't exactly remember where the conversation went after that, but I remember thinking that that poor boy in Texas must have been so terribly confused and crushed to be punished for using his imagination.  Since the original story broke there seems to be some discrepancies regarding what actually took place, but the incident struck a chord because the "moral" of the story is this: When you take away a child's right to imagine--unicorns and magic rings and even imaginary friends--you take away their willingness to dream, to invent, to create.

Aren't we a nation of dreamers?  Don't we pride ourselves on our independent and creative spirit?

Who among us has not pretended to be the very thing that is our livelihood today?  If we hadn't dared to dream our dreams as children, to imagine ourselves as writers, doctors, hairdressers, hobbits, scientists, firefighters, wizards, race car drivers, teachers, actors, ninjas, lawyers, soldiers and moms, who would we be today?  Who would have gone to the moon, who would have built the skyscrapers, who would have written about the "one ring to rule them all," who would have imagined a unicorn?


  1. Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice!

  2. I never would have even thought to let them think unicorns are real even though I let them think Santa is real, but you are so right, what are we without our dreams? Great read.

    1. Thank you! I think unicorns seem like a different bird since they bend more toward the magical/mythical realm and obviously aren't tie to a holiday, I guess, but the imagination doesn't celebrate holidays!


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