Thoughts after reading Liz's Happy May Day (Not Mayday)
We can all bring to mind the image of the young cancer patient with the shaved head and the wide luminous eyes and the uncannily grown-up acceptance of it all. In this heartbreaking figure, we see a child's innocence already replaced by the philosophical solaces of the care-ridden adult. It seems often, in this situation, that the child has become the adult and the parents the children, the child wanting nothing more than to protect the parents from the harshness of reality.
We learn something about childhood from this example -- that it is not a birthright bestowed by nature nor a function strictly of age but a gift that one generation bestows on another. In the normal circumstance, it is a gift that we parents give to our children. Childhood is an illusion we fabricate for their happiness. It is not just the fiction of Santa Claus we create, or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy -- we create for their happiness the fiction of childhood itself. It extends to summer evenings chasing fireflies and carefree days by the lake -- fictions made possible by parents who do not permit the dark shadow of reality to disturb the innocence of their kids.
I would offer a few isolated thoughts on the subject.
"Childhood is an illusion fabricated by parents for the happiness of their kids."
"Childhood ends when we realize that Santa Claus is make-believe and the monster in the closet is for real."
"We do not realize how fragile our childhood was until it becomes our turn to play the grown-up."
-- Robert Brault