Christmas has past, but the associations could perhaps reverberate through the years.
I wanted to give my grandchildren something different and original, but what? I was running out of time. A couple of weeks prior to Santa’s arrival, synchronicity stepped in. Sitting around the dining table, my three youngest granddaughters shared what they want to be when they grow up – a rock star, a chef, and, a fairy.
Inspired by their aspirations I set to work. Being a compulsive hoarder, and always having been into sewing and crafts, I had little to purchase, apart from props, to make them each an outfit that reflected their dreams.
The sewing machine ran hot. The brain sizzled, as I worked out patterns, sizes and suitable fabrics from my stash.
In an era of PCs and DSs, I couldn’t quell a touch of apprehension. Would they like their gifts? Or would they rip off the paper, give the contents a cursory glance and move onto the next present? I need not have fretted. The five-year-old, the wannabe chef, clutched the mini stainless steel whisk and waved it aloft by its pink handle.
“Nanny! You know I’m going to be a chef!” she exclaimed, beaming.
The youngest, decked in purple tulle and floral petals, waved her magic wand, wings fluttering, as she asked for confirmation that she was indeed a beaufiful fairy. The eight-year-old rock star strutted her stuff with a foam mircophone to the rhythm of Christmas songs.
What more could a grandmother wish for?
Like leaves in autumn, so often our childhood dreams turn brittle with the changing seasons. They fall from the heights of aspiration to be whipped away by the winds of time, as we wend our way through life. If we’re lucky, other dreams have sprouted in their place. If we’re not so lucky, circumstances dictate our future vocations. If we’re blessed, we live our dreams.
Fashion designer, artist, novelist, librarian and archaeologist were among my aspirations as I progressed through childhood into my teens. In part, I have lived all professions. Dress-ups and costumes bear my personal stamp of originality (though I still need to work out how to put a fan in the eagle’s head to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion…). Artwork in different mediums has been a constant means of expression. The novel is in progress – make that two novels. My bookshelves overflow, literally, with the product of writers I admire and subjects that pique my interest, though cataloguing is not my forte.
As for archaeology? I live in an old gold-mining town. Constructing a garden on a plot of land that was once the dump for the posh house further up the hill, has seen even that dream manifest in a minor but no less intriguing form. Old ink bottles, fragments of crockery, exquisite and functional, lumps of rust that were once implements, and slivers and chips of still-beautiful glass of many colours, all emerge as I turn the sod.
In a different kind of archaeology, I have delved into the depths of my psyche, inspected ingrained habits, and sifted through the tailings of outlived assumptions. I have also, ever so gently, dusted off hopes buried in layers of the past.
I wonder, how did you fare in the department of living your childhood aspirations? Perhaps you have done better than you think. I have.