Lucas, Anton and Dante came with me to the Steiner Advent Fair today. It’s a beautiful experience in the way that other shopping doesn’t touch. They had a gingerbread den where you could ice gingerbread and the walls were hung with gingerbread and garlands with an enormous gingerbread house on display in the center of the room. There were dozens of handmade craft stalls selling the most lovingly crafted, magical objects like jewellry, pottery, baskets, clothes, art of all descriptions and enchanting toys. Everything was so thoughtfully done and we stopped at several stalls for food buying one of different things to share between us – brownie, pizza, pumpkin pie and freshly pressed apple juice from apples that people were bringing in. I bought a beautiful felt play mat with little gnomes on it for Anton’s Xmas present even though a friend standing next to me (we met hundreds of people we knew) said “But you could make that yourself,” because I’d never get near making something like that even if I did get round to having a go. I might have a go at felting though. I think it could be something once again that would work for the different ages.
We also went to the Angel Garden where they did the spiral walkway lit by candles with a angel (mother dressed up) met you in the middle. It was done beautifully of course with a dark waiting area with a lady dressed in white plucking a harp quietly and you were given a crystal to give to the angel to make your wish. Anton was captivated and I like to think that a little part of Luc is still tugged by it. I think it is. I trailed after them, feeling big and cumbersome and plastic in my pink waterproof with Dante in the sling and wishing I could give myself over to a world of fairies again.
Actually I always seem to back away from it when it comes to helping my children enter magical worlds. I do think childhood is magical of course but I don’t make believe with them. I’m not quite sure why as my world of make believe was so very important to me as a child but that might be just it – I was really quite devastated at having to leave it and remember quite painfully feeling torn when life was all too real and I couldn’t pretend anymore. It wasn’t just fairies and make believe, it was love and ideals too. Nothing matched up to the stories or what went on in my head. I’m sure a lot of people have felt the same let down but I think it may have made we want to be more matter of fact with my children. I read endless stories and it matters to me to choose beautiful books that draw them in to many other fantastical worlds but in my exchanges with them I am always factual or I will say “Some people believe,” or “I like to think..” rather than spin stories about “Little people” or such things as my friend K does. Funnily enough, I don’t mind when she says that to Anton so maybe the reason I don’t has less to do with my childhood and more to do with the fact that I feel uncomfortable with telling him something that’s not true as a parent. I want him to trust what I say. I find the Santa Claus thing tricky too although I do do that one to some extent.
Anyway, I came away from the Steiner fair today wondering if there is more I could do to give my children more magic in their lives. I also came out feeling like I wanted to throw away every bit of plastic in the house but that’s already fading. Playmobil always has a place in our house. Lucas and I noted more crafts we could do together too (he liked people peg dolls and I liked felt Xmas decorations and we both want to make gnomes). I feel very lucky that he enjoys doing arts and crafts. I also want to do a nature display/table with Anton.
It also made me feel very lucky to have more younger children to do these lovely things with. I feel like I’ve been given another chance to enjoy young children. I’ve learnt so much since the first time round, not that I’m any better at anything but more that I know there are so many more lovely things to do and that I don’t have to worry so much about “getting it right.”
And what is this all about? Helping my children to be fulfilled and happy of course. I mulled this over while I was making pumpkin pies after we came home from the fair and was still mulling when Anton and I pottered down to the shop to buy more butter for the pies. Anton cheerfully skipped the 1/4 mile to the shop (apart from a minor blip when he saw someone on a scooter which made suddenly remember that “I can’t walk.” Cue dramatic dragging of feet.) He recovered though and in a blase moment I treated him to a 5p lolly. On the way home he waved his lolly through the window to an old lady that we always wave at and I thought – this was it. A happy moment. There are lots of them about if you can just grab them. It doesn’t have much to do with plastic or wood.
So there you go. Happiness does cost 5p. Of someone else’s money of course.