One of the things I was thankful for last week was good conversation. That's always been a personal favorite of mine, and having my younger daughter and her family with us provided me with conversations with everyone from 40-something down to five. The five-year-old's conversation was memorable, of course--one highlight being a request to play a card game called "gym rummery."
My daughter's conversational contribution was more serious. It had to do with the challenge of keeping children innocent, intuitive and imaginative in this world of instant hookups, rigid formulaic thinking, and unthinkable examples of inhumanity. Just considering it all made me want to watch the Matrix again, and then sit back and be glad I'm in the grandmother stage.
One example of the Brave New World was a second grade teacher who committed what I would name as a cardinal sin, were I Pope. My eight-year-old grandson had created a turkey, and done the unthinkable: he painted the eyes purple. And yes...he was corrected.
Now, never having had a staredown with a turkey, I can't be sure that purple isn't exactly the anatomically correct color. But even if it's hazel or gravy brown, I can't imagine finding it necessary to dictate that truth. Especially considering all the other issues where one could draw a line in the mashed potatoes.
Besides, a good artistic lie makes things interesting. After all, would we want Lady Gaga to stick to her true hair? Or Alice in Wonderland to describe a literal rabbit hole? If Michelangelo lied a little while carving that marble, then carry on, I say.
My daughter and I got downright revolutionary about the right to insist on purple eyes. If we lose the fight as parents and grandparents to declare that our children have inalienable rights to intuition, imagination and innocence, then these three "I" words could help us lose the planet. I, for one, don't want to hang around to see everything in boxes or twitter-sized sound bites or hard-edged silliness.
So along with being thankful for conversation, I'm thankful for having two daughters who are brilliant and sensitive mothers--spirited women. And, I'm thankful for their children, who give me hope for the future.
With the influence of spirited women--especially in the age group where future leaders live--we could create a future where the three "I's" are guaranteed freedoms. That would be the kind of magic that could turn my brown eyes blue.
By the way, we did not correct the pronunciation of "gym rummery." It sounded like a cool new game to me. And who knows what a free child--a spirited woman of the future--might dream up to save us all?