Children don't consider tomorrow and consequences. They live for today and a new adventure. Their imaginations run wild and to pretend is to escape into another world. The funny thing is that as a child I did the very same things, though looking back now at 35, I don't remember the feeling. I don't remember what it felt like to not have to pay bills, do school work, or be a responsible adult. It surely was grand, and it was innocent.
If not for having children, I wonder how much of our childhood memories and innocence we would truly remember and consider. My mind stays jumbled from day to day on my job, money, responsibilities, and more. I seldom find time to empty my mind and escape. I know adults are to put away childish things, but there's something special about the innocence of a child.
As I watch my two little girls day in and day out, my heart is continuously filled with love and simultaneously dread. They don't know that one day, some terrible, ill-fated day, unscripted and unplanned, innocence will be lost. It comes without announcement. It's a day I dread to witness in my little girls' eyes. It's the day we begin losing the ability to dream. It's the day our imaginations start growing dim. Innocence is like a furnace for imagination and creativity that never goes out. Children in innocence can move in and out of make believe at a moment's notice. Imaginary friends are just as special as real ones. But when innocence is lost, it becomes work to dream, imagine, and create. Thus innocence is to be protected, fostered, sheltered, and guarded.
I saw this on display more clearly than I ever have before just this past weekend. We took a Friday and Saturday and went to the Mall of Georgia and to a Gwinnett Braves game. The Braves game was a treat for me, but because it was Frozen Night, everyone else in the family got treated as well. Our tickets allowed us to have a meet and greet with Elsa, Anna, and Olaf in a Frozen paradise with Frozen fireworks set for after the game. When I told Rylee about the game, she squealed with glee. Elsa and Anna are her favorite characters "ever!" Upon hearing we would meet them, she began dancing around the room, shooting ice powers, and telling me she would wear her Elsa dress and mama would fix her hair like Elsa's hair. When we go to Disney World, and we have gone a lot this year with our season passes, Rylee always dresses up like a princess each day. She loves it. We all assumed others would probably dress up to meet Elsa and Anna at the ballgame like Rylee wanted to. Unfortunately, we were wrong.
Rylee was decked out in her beautiful Elsa dress. Her hair was braided and beautiful. She had her snowflake hair bows in as well. As we got to the game and were waiting in line to enter the stadium, we started noticing that while others were there to meet the Frozen sisters, no one else was really dressed up. Rylee couldn't contain her excitement so she was dancing around and twirling her arms and dress in circles. The other families and children stared at her. Some of the older children gave her dirty looks. When Rylee tried to include herself in a hand jive game two other little girls were playing, they didn't include her. Rylee being the strong willed person she is, made up her own game to play with her imaginary friends, Kasey and Karla. At this the other two girls snickered and turned their backs. Rylee didn't understand why they acted that way and before she could dwell on it, I started talking to her about meeting Elsa and Anna.
I see that look in her eyes when we visit Disney World and Mickey Mouse kisses her hand. I see that innocence when she sees Ariel "in her mermaid tail." She believes they're real, and I don't tell her any different. She won't always believe this. One day the cruel world of reality will invade her make believe kingdom and for the rest of her life, innocence will be gone, only to be experienced again through the eyes of her children one day.
Innocence is beautiful, and what a tragic thing to lose when it's lost. Protect it. Foster it. Rediscover it. Reconnect with it. You may just find yourself transformed, traveling back in time to a place and a moment where Arendelle truly exists and your toys come to life. And if you can find that moment, savor it. For in that moment, glimpses of heaven are found.