Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Notes from the Field - A Very Wanted Child

You know that expression - if I had a nickel for every time I...then I'd be RICH!! Well, if I had even a quarter of a penny, for every time I read or told a story that began "There once was an older couple who's only wish was to have a child..." I'd be having tea with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, and picking up the tab!! The motif of an older childless couple comes up again and again in folktales, and almost always, that child born of that intense longing and love turns out to be special - brave, wise, and strong. He or she becomes a hero - doing some task, taking on some journey, not for themselves, but for others. They are loved, not just by their parents, but by others, and many times by the king, who showers then with gifts. I have been thinking a lot about this motif lately, as I watched my brother at 53, and his wife at 51, adopt their first child. At an age when most folks are taking the money they have saved and planning where they will go, what adventures they will have, Robby (my brother), and his joy filled wife Helen, who only married two years ago are blazing a different path - they are opening their lives and their hearts to my newest nephew, Joey. As I gazed down at this latest nephew of mine (now my score is - including those I married into - nieces: 7, and nephews: 7 - even!!!) I couldn't help but think, that I was holding a future hero - and how could he not be? A child that loved, that wanted is as blessed as any child in any of the stories that I tell. Fairy Godmothers may not have flown into his room, and sat by his crib, but the love that surrounded him, as he was introduced to his family, beats any magical wand in my opinion. And so now - whenever I pick up a folktale collection, and read those words, "There once was an couple, that everything they wanted except a child." I will think of little Joseph Alexander, who has fulfilled the wishes of my brother and his wife, and by giving them someone to love, has become their hero!!

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