A visit from the play fairies…

a visit from the play fairiesThe sun set yesterday on the riotous howling laughter from the gaggle of kids in my sister’s side yard. They were playing a game with rocks that were islands and rules about where they could and couldn’t step and squealed with glee and cried with victory until well after dark.

Our family made the trip down from North Carolina for the annual Columbia Mardi Gras parade and we spent the day marching while Matt drummed with a local band. This raucous game afterward was a much needed chance for our children to reconnect with Columbia friends they had not seen much while we have been on our experimental year in the mountains.

The next morning, Matt stepped outside and noticed a cloth bag hanging from the front doorknob of my sister’s house where we were staying. Thinking that the children had left something at their other aunt’s house and she had returned it in a little bag, he thought nothing of it until he read the attached tag:

“Dear children-

You are making me so happy! You really know how to play and have a good time the old fashioned way. You don’t need silly games on phones… You play with all things  creative…you create your own fun and that makes me very, very, very,very happy.

These are just silly sursies for you to enjoy you will know what to do with them and how to divide them between you-

Thank you for remembering the real magical way to have fun-

Love from the play fairies….

a visit from the play fairies
As they unwrapped the balls of newspaper in the bag which held tiny trinkets from all over the world, Matt and my sister looked at each other with wide eyes in utter disbelief.

When I made my way downstairs, I heard

“Emily, get over here, you have got to see this!”

When I read the tag, something magical unfolded in my heart. My first thought was that the bag was from someone the children had handed a paper heart to at the parade.

As we were marching at Mardi Gras, the children and I handed out paper hearts with affirmations written on them.

“You are a glimmering piece of stardust.”

“Remember what you loved doing as a child.”

People held the paper hearts to their chest with looks of pure joy and shock as the children delivered them. They were literally sowing seeds of magic and tenderness with every step.

I realized that the play fairies could not literally have been someone who received a paper heart at the parade but that the two things are absolutely related through an invisible ripple effect. It was as if the children had thrown a love-soaked boomerang and it came back and landed on their porch!

Matt and I have made a conscious effort to raise our children in a way that emphasizes the  wonder of the natural world and the true beauty of kindness and presence rather than the fleeting satisfaction of things. We have stood behind our conviction that this is right and healthy for our children even in the absence of traditional validation from teachers. As unschoolers, we have no template to follow but our heart. We have tried to give our children long swaths of time to immerse themselves in nourishing deep play. In the absence of strict structure, they have the freedom to explore their rich inner landscape. This reality WAS childhood just a few years ago.

It has been a long, lonely,rocky road and we have often felt like we are walking a long dark tunnel and feeling the sides  with our hands to navigate. This note from the play fairies was a balm for our soul. A type of anonymous feedback that whispered

“keep going, you are on the right path.”

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