Finding Neverland within

I grew up in a fairly large family and from the viewpoint of my siblings was spoiled. As long as I can remember though, there was loneliness.  In my fantasies I’d be rescued to a life that was safe and calm. As I grew older and was married I longed to be a mother. I wanted to build my own family that would accept me for who I was and love me and who I could put my whole soul into loving. So was it really acceptance I longed for that was disguised as loneliness? I wonder. I also wonder if the acceptance I crave is of self.

Like the words in the song Lost Boys by Ruth B, “I promise that you’ll never be lonely,”  I suppose my kids then, were like my lost boys. We played and we imagined. We told stories and sailed on great adventures building a world of our own. Sometimes I think those things are lost but every once in a while they emerge in a laugh, a memory or the twinkle of an eye and my heart sings.  ”Run, run lost boys, they say to me, away from all of reality.” I admit Neverland holds so much draw for me. And my kids are my pixie dust that transports me to that place where I realized, ‘I finally had a family.’ Perhaps we are all just lost boys wanting to stay and play but knowing life and responsibility is calling. Torn between expectations, responsibilities and the memories of what it feels like to be immersed in play.

Are they still running? Am I? Is it Captain Hook I run from? Is Captain Hook my growing old? Am I like Wendy in Hook when she sadly turned towards Peter and said, “Peter, I’m ever so much more than twenty?” Or maybe it’s the crocodile with the ticking watch sending shivers down my spine as I consider the pace at which time passes. Has my story been told? In the end will I walk the plank or just evaporate? Am I living the greatest adventure or squandering opportunity?  Run, run lost boys… have I forgotten how to run? Has reality swallowed me up? Have I forgotten to play? Have my lost boys?

“Peacefully my feed hit the sand.”  I smell the fresh breeze as it escapes the woods. I breathe deeply. I close my eyes. My kids, myself, I remember. Was it ever real? Did we tell stories in tents? Did we have picnics on the living room floor? Were there ever crafts, giggles, pudgy fingers wrapped around my neck? Did we actually play hooky and take ‘unprofessional development days?’ Did we ever draw pictures and tell jokes? Was it ever real? Did they ever accept me as one of them or was it a grand illusion?

Sometimes now I feel like I’m on the outside, no longer enveloped in the acceptance I crave. Am I the kind of mother I wanted to be for my kids? Am I the woman I wish I could be? And is there still time to be whatever that is? Is it worth the effort? Is there really a Neverland?

I’m going to keep believing in Neverland and in the joy we can create for ourselves. I’m hoping I can believe in me too and believe that adventure is still possible and maybe it’s not just in Neverland that we can live the life we choose and be who and what we want to be.