Peter Pan, Pirates, Neverland—and Grandsons
One of the pleasures of grandsons living on the property is getting to witness magical moments like this: Wesley and Sabien’s preparation to attend the Pirate Festival in Vallejo.
We have been having a lot of pirate activity here since five year old Wesley discovered Peter Pan. It started with the Lost Boy song. Wesley watched a You Tube video version of the song by Ruth B. over and over, memorizing the words. (Since then, to his grief, the video version, which went viral, has been blocked.) Soon three year old Sabien was also captivated. My son Casey, their dad, made them wooden swords, swords being a passion of his own since he was younger than they are now. The three of them sword fight most of an hour every day. This sword fighting became banned in the house after one of my orchids was shredded by the action.
My mother had a Peter Pan book as a child, published when she was about Wesley’s age. The front cover shows an elfin figure tiptoeing into Wendy’s nursery, a finger to his lips to quiet the fairy Tinker Bell. He is looking for his shadow which was cut off by a rapidly slammed-shut window. I pulled this fragile book off the shelf and Wesley, Sabien, and I read it over and over. The pictures are emblazoned in my memory as my mother read it to me when I was about Wesley and Sabien’s ages. Wesley loves the pirate fighting; Sabien is frightened by the rather violent action at the end and usually takes a break at that time. Captain Hook is a particular favorite of them both, however, as is the tick-tock of the clock in the crocodile. They also both love the Lost Boys when they pretend to be pirates.
Yesterday Wesley, Sabien, and Casey got their swords and their pirate hats, and loaded up to go to the Pirate Festival. The Peter Pan in my son prevailed for a few hours as they flew off to Neverland.
In Neverland, the imagination rules. Boys fight mythic fights and the good always wins. It is a kingdom we all know, or remember, and grandchildren remind us that it is always there, somewhere. It’s not all so simple, I know; the good and the bad: it’s all in us. When we grow up, we struggle with that. But maybe it is only in play that we resolve it. Grandsons teach us this too.