Dec 19, 2010

Unlimited. That’s a great word, isn’t it? I’m not sure exactly what this odd little wagon is trying to tell us, but the hopeful message is the same one I get whenever I volunteer for Little Bit’s school parties.

Last week, a crowd of soggy, cold parents stood out in a soggy, school courtyard to hear a chorus of five year olds sing “Jingle Bells” and “The Dreidel Song.” After the concert, fueled by cupcakes and juice boxes, the future class of ’23 was more than happy to chit chat.

You can learn a lot from those kindergartners.

“We’ve had a lot of work with all that reading and stuff,” Philip said through a mouthful of frosting. “I’m looking forward to relaxing over the winter break. People don’t take enough time to just kick back and enjoy life.”

“That’s a good point,” I said. “I don’t think I take enough time to just kick back.”

“Oh, you’ve gotta do it.” Philip said. “Just relaxing and having fun, that’s the best thing ever.”

“I don’t want to relax,” Kate said. “I want to run around the yard so fast for so long that I fall down and can’t get up!”

“Then what?” I asked.

“Do it again!”

“I’m going to bake cookies over the winter break,” Little Bit said. “I might even be a baker when I grow up.”

“I’m going to be an inventor.” Philip said.

“Can you share any of your ideas for inventions?” I said.

“I think instead of just animal cookies, there should be landscape cookies. You know, trees and mountains and stuff. I could invent that and make, like, a thousand dollars!”

“Why stop at mountains,” Little Bit said. “Why not make moon cookies and planet cookies and sun cookies, too?”

“Cookies for the whole universe!” Philip said.

“I’m going to be a runner.” Kate said. “In the Olympics. Or maybe an ice skater.”

“I’m going to be an ice skater, too!” Little Bit said.

“Ah, you guys can be skaters.” Philip said. I’m going to invent rocket skates so that you can ice skate in the sky. You know, you could actually ice skate in snow clouds. That’s the coolest idea I ever had.”

There’s a common thread to conversations among five year olds. It’s a golden, sparkly thread of possibility. Those little ones are woven so securely with hope and potential, they haven’t gotten even the slightest bit frayed by life. Or maybe they are just smart enough not to have been unraveled by the propaganda we all believe to be true: that we somehow have to compromise. That there are limitations. Maybe we’ve all been stuck settling for only animal cookies when we could have had the entire universe on a plate, if we’d just let ourselves imagine it.

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