I remember the day last spring when Ocean Breeze “un-unicorized” her locker. “Unicorns are for babies”, she said as she removed every magnet, clipping and photo of unicorns that she had so blissfully collected over the past few months. “I want to ‘unicorize’ my locker”, she had announced when she put up the first picture not that long ago.
I stood there behind her with my hands out like a shelf, receiving all the precious memorabilia which she had apparently outgrown in a matter of months. My job was to take it all back home, where I presumed it would be safe from peer judgment and ridicule.
I did as I was told, but I had a hard time accepting that she was so soon finished with unicorns. I hung the magnets and pictures on the metal posts of her loft bed. Other items I placed carefully on her desk, knowing she would come home that evening and want to look at and handle these mementos.
And what did she replace them with? Well, beauty products of course! A mirror, hairbrush, a container with the word “dance” on it, etc. (no make-up allowed yet). These were things that I suppose were more in keeping with the ever-present desire to age that is so prevalent in adolescents.
A desire that is not so readily shared by the parent of a pre-adolescent. Yes, we want the unicorns to stay. “Unicorns are not for babies!”, we want to say, “They’re for you to enjoy this magical and so fleeting part of childhood. Stay a while longer here in wonderland. It’s hard to find your way back once you leave.”
The unicorn magnets still cling to her bed posts like babies clinging to their mothers’ legs. They remind me that she hasn’t quite flown away from wonderland yet. She merely stepped out the front door for a minute and left it open so that she could come back in.