Children have an amazing imagination. When I think back on the amazing adventures my children created with their minds when they were younger, I am in awe. It makes me reminisce on some of the amazing adventures that my mind created.
One of my earlier memories was born out of a conversation with Dad’s sister. A little background is in order because she will come up numerous times as I recall my youth. My dad has a sister that is five days older than me. I am supposed to be two weeks older than her, but I preferred the warmth of my mother’s belly and she ended up needing to come a little early. This will only play out in scenarios where my oldest child=leadership (ok, youthful bossiness) is exerted as we get older. To add to our background, we are both named after my grandmother and she is named after her father, which created the rhyming named terrors known as Amy Sue and Jami Sue (p.s.- I love my grandma, but I rarely tell my middle name because my name is short enough that when roll was called in school, my entire name was called. I understand people go by double names in the south, but not where I am from. It is only used when your mother is looking for you and there’s a good chance you are in trouble).
Ok….so back to the story. Jami had this tendency to tell tall tales when we were little. I usually never bought into them. One time though, when we were six, she told me that she and the neighbor boy had a secret club. She said that they could turn into animals and they would be having a meeting on Saturday morning. One was going to be a giraffe and the other an elephant (I’m pretty sure about the elephant, definite that one was going to be a giraffe); she told me this so that if I could make it, I would know it was them when I got there. I was wondering how as different animals we would understand each other, but she assured me that we could. I would have to concentrate really hard, but if I believed enough then it would work. I knew that she was lying….. but what if…
What if she was telling the truth? We lived about a 45-minute drive from her house in town. How could I get to this early morning meeting? Was it possible that I could turn into an animal? What should I be? I got up early Saturday morning, went out to the living room, turned to the cartoons on our little, 12 volt operated, black and white TV (yes, in 1983 or 84) with three channels (if you haven’t read this post about my childhood, you should).
I decided that the animal that I would be was a black panther. To be clear, I was 6, I know that Florida panthers aren’t black. Also, I thought the animals that I had heard that sound like a woman screaming in the night were panthers, this is apparently a bobcat. I did, however, grow up somewhat near to the Florida Panther Refuge (although that wasn’t established until 1989, 9 years after we moved to the wild land. The Florida Panther is considered one of the most endangered mammals in the U.S.
But I digress. Let me crawl out of my rabbit hole and get back to the story. I decided on a panther because I thought it would be as fast as the wind and black because I would need to blend in to the dark morning. I needed to get all the way to town, have this meeting, and return before my parents awoke and saw that I wasn’t there watching Saturday morning cartoons. I approached the TV, turned it down a little, closed my eyes and said “I want to turn into a black panther”. I said this a few times, and nothing… maybe I needed to believe more….. I felt the belief all the way down into the core of my being….I could imagine how free it would be to be running through the oaks, the pines, the cypress, the melaleuca, giving way to coconut palms and manicured grasses, all the way into town, feeling the cool morning air rushing past my shiny fur as I raced faster than man. I imagined how surprised Jami would be that I had made it, how she would think that I picked such a beautiful animal, hoping that she would know by my eyes that it was me and not be scared….over and over I said it in my mind…and still nothing. I was disappointed that it couldn’t be true. I had wanted it to be true with my entire being. I sat back, turned up the TV, crawled onto the couch and watched some cartoons.
Just a note: this did not ruin my belief or my imagination- it has stayed very active for a very long time.
Let your light shine!