“You think you’re very adult, but you have a lot to learn.” – Wendy to her daughter Jane in Return to Neverland
While overnight babysitting, the 5th grade boy I watch decided to leave the channel on Return to Neverland, the follow-up to one of my favorite movies ever, Peter Pan. I didn’t say anything because I was afraid he’d turn it off and it seemed such a better option than Spongebob. At the beginning of the movie, Jane, Wendy’s daughter, tells her little brother that all of their mother’s stories about Peter Pan and Captain Hook aren’t real. The tears on the small boy’s cheeks elicit a slight feeling of guilt, but you can tell Jane feels her rationality and knowledge are something the young child needs to grow up.
Wendy’s response to her daughter is to tell her, “You think you’re very adult, but you have a lot to learn.” She then follows her young son and holds him as they look off together towards the second star to the right, obviously affirming his burgeoning beliefs about faith, trust and pixie dust. As Mother’s Day approaches I can’t help but think of the times in my life when my mom used that same message, whether spoken or not, to teach me the heart trumps the brain when it comes to growing up.
Most of us remember moments we’re ashamed of – moments when we pushed an argument to far, made a cutting remark we knew would hurt, or tried to make someone feel inferior in order to boost our own self-worth. I know in my everyday life I like to pride myself on the fact that I think I am smart. I have hurt my sisters, cousins, and especially my mom in order to make myself feel better or right. I guess that’s why watching Jane squash her tiny brother’s beliefs constricted my chest and moistened my eyes. I related to Jane. I felt her regret in the moment she heard Wendy and knew she’d messed up. Return to Neverland closes, of course, with Jane’s transformation and understanding, a transformation that wouldn’t have been possible without Wendy’s firm faith and trust in all things magic.
I believe my transformation – the reason I can even begin to right some of my wrongs – comes from the admonishment that so often showed up in “a look” rather than words from Cathy, my Wendy. While Wendy told Jane straight out, my mom used her beautifully expressive face to say, “How could you?” And when my heart heard it, I always felt the deserved guilt that came from not living up to what she believed I could be. Because of her, as I have “grown up”, especially these past few years, instances of my “know it all” behavior are more easily identifiable to me and I try to swallow that icky pride and apologize in order to set things right.
The ability to say you’re sorry and mean it or to admit you’re not infallible takes a lot of faith and trust, faith in the growth process of the human spirit and trust in your relationship with the person you’ve hurt. But it’s truly impossible without pixie dust. When Wendy looks at Jane and delivers the words to help her learn from her mistake, the pixie dust is love. The only way the rebuke doesn’t harm the child is if the child feels and knows that she is loved.
My mom sprinkled my whole world with pixie dust and continues to do so today for me and many other children – related or not. Her love, faith, and trust envelop me in a cocoon that I continuously emerge from at each new stage of my life journey. Sure, I’ve worked hard to develop my intellect and my brain and I’m not going to stop, but she’s taught me that true maturity comes from being able to turn off the brain and lead with the heart. Some people see growing up as a negative, but if growing up means becoming more like her, then there’s nothing more positive I could do.
I love you, Mom!